Four Shocking Facts About Shootings And Gun Deaths In The United States

by John Haltiwanger
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On Wednesday, there was a shooting in San Bernardino, California. It reportedly occurred at Inland Regional Center, a social services facility for the developmentally disabled.

#SanBernardino shooting occurred at Inland Regional Center, which provides services for developmentally disabled individuals. - @cnnbrk — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) December 2, 2015

Early on, it was reported the shooting happened near a Planned Parenthood facility, but it was eventually revealed there was no connection.

Planned Parenthood near San Bernardino shootings says they're fine, no gun violence there, per MSNBC. — Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) December 2, 2015

At least 14 were reported dead, along with 21 wounded.**

Active shooter situations are chaotic and confusing by nature, often making them difficult to report on -- particularly in the age of social media.

As we continue to gather information on this shooting, however, it's difficult not to reflect more broadly on the issue of gun violence in the United States.

As President Obama stated after hearing about the shooting on Wednesday,

We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.

Indeed, gun violence is an evident problem in the United States we can't afford to ignore.

There are no simple solutions to this issue, but doing nothing as we continue to face incidents like what occurred today in San Bernardino is simply unacceptable.

Addressing gun violence does not mean revoking gun rights, it means finding a balance between not punishing responsible gun owners while making substantive changes to prevent future deaths from firearms.

Here are four shocking facts about shootings and gun deaths in the US that prove the time to act is now.

There have been 355 mass shootings in 2015 alone.

In 2015, there have been more mass shootings than days.

There's been no calendar week without a mass shooting during President Obama's 2nd term. — Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) December 2, 2015

As the Washington Post reports, this means there have already been more mass shootings this year than in 2014, and we still have about a month left.

Gun violence kills more people in the US per year than terrorism has since 9/11.

On average, gun violence kills over 10,000 people in the US annually.

Many Americans perceive terrorism as one of the greatest threats to their safety. But, according to the New America Foundation, 79 people have been killed in terror attacks in the United States since 9/11. No one is arguing this is a good thing, but it's decidedly less than the number of lives gun violence claims per year.

Even if you combine the total number of people that died on 9/11 (2,997) with all of the Americans that have died from terrorism since that awful day, it still doesn't come close to the number of people killed by gun violence every year.

In 2014 alone, there were 12,569 deaths from gun violence. So far this year, gun violence has already killed 12,200 in the US.

The US spends a lot of money and time concentrating on terrorism when gun violence is far deadlier.

Obama challenged the media to compare gun and terrorism deaths. So I did. — Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) October 1, 2015

Numbers don't lie, and they suggest we have mixed up priorities.

Guns killed more people in the US in the past 47 years than all those who died fighting in all the wars in American history.

Nearly 1.4 million Americans have died on battlefields in all of the major wars the US fought in.

Comparatively, guns have killed over 1.5 million Americans since 1968 (including homicides and suicides).

All Americans killed in war, ever: 1.4 million Americans dead from guns last 47 years: 1.5 million — Mike Rosenberg (@RosenbergMerc) December 2, 2015

More Americans died from firearms between 1999 and 2013 (464,033) than during World War II (405,399).

There are over 20,000 firearm suicides every year.

Suicide is arguably one of the most frequently ignored issues in discussions surrounding firearms, but it's a major problem.

According to the CDC, 21,175 committed suicide with firearms in 2013 alone.

If you account for both suicides and homicides, guns kill around 30,000 people in the US per year. That means suicides account for around two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the US annually. But we aren't talking about it very much.

Some might argue people who commit suicide would find a way to do so even if they didn't have a gun. But, as Vox notes, only around six to seven percent of suicide attempts involving poisoning and cutting are successful while the rate of success for suicides involving guns is over 90 percent.

Indeed, suicide attempts are far more likely to be successful if guns are involved.

Simply put, there's a great deal of evidence reducing access to guns can help reduce firearm suicides.

The US owns more guns per capita than any country worldwide. It also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate in the developed world.

It's simple, where there are more guns, there is more violence and death. We can either acknowledge this and act, or continue to ignore it and witness more innocent people die.

**Editor's note: This article initially reported 14 people were wounded in San Bernardino shooting but was updated after it was confirmed 17 were wounded. It was updated again after it was confirmed at least 21 were wounded.