Facts and Figures
The human toll
There were 39,773 deaths from firearms in the U.S. in 2017. Sixty percent of deaths from firearms in the U.S. are suicides. In 2017, nearly 24,000 people in the U.S. died by firearm suicide.1 Firearms are the means in approximately half of suicides nationwide.
In 2017, 14,542 people in the U.S. died from firearm homicide, accounting for 36.3% of total deaths from firearms. Firearms were the means for almost 75% of homicides in 2017.
The other 3.7% of firearm deaths are uninentional, undetermined, from legal intervention, or from public mass shootings (0.3% of total firearm deaths).
There are approximately 115,000 non-fatal firearm injuries in the U.S. each year, including about 20,000 non-fatal unintentional firearm injuries in 2017.
The economic cost
The estimated annual cost of gun injury in 2012 exceeded $229 billion—about 1.4% of GDP.2
Prevalence of ownership
31% of all households in the U.S. have firearms, and 22% of American adults personally own one or more firearms.3
Compared with other countries
The U.S. has relatively low rates of assaultive violence but high firearm mortality rates in comparison with other industrialized nations.4
Risk and safety
Research has found that individuals with risk factors for firearm injury and death are less likely to safely store their firearms when compared to firearm owners without these risk factors.5,6
Trends in firearm injury and death
Overall since 2006, firearm homicides in the U.S. have decreased, but the number of firearm suicides has increased by a similar amount.4 The rate of firearm suicide in the U.S. increased from 2016 to 2017 while the rate of firearm homicide remained the same.1
In the last 12 years, firearm suicide rates have steadily increased from 5.7/100,000 population to 7.3/100,000 population in 2017.
Even when firearm homicide rates were at their highest in the mid-1990s (just above 7/100,000 population), they were not higher than those for firearm suicide.
Firearm homicide and suicide rates vary demographically and geographically.
Learn more about trends in firearm injury and death in the U.S.
The role of health care providers
There are no state or federal statutes that prohibit health care providers from asking about patients’ access to firearms when the information is relevant to the health of the patient or the health of someone else.7,8
Research has shown that patients are generally receptive to provider questions on firearm access and safety.9,10