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Gun Violence Statistics 2024: A Comprehensive Look at the Data

Report Highlights:

  • The U.S. has more than 82 million lawful firearm owners.
  • 53% of the 21 states with restrictive concealed carry laws have violent crime rates higher than the national average.
  • 55% of states with a violent crime rate below the national average have permitless carry.
  • Between 60,000 and 2.5 million Americans use firearms for self-defense each year.
  • 40% of criminals convicted of crimes while in possession of a firearm were already prohibited from carrying firearms.
  • A 2018 study shows that 68% of those convicted of crimes while in possession of a firearm were already felons.
  • The U.K. and Australia have a higher number of homicides per firearm than the United States.

Gun Violence Statistics - Report Highlights

If guns were more regulated, would crime rates go up, down, or stagnate? We can review several years’ worth of gun violence statistics, ownership, and crime trends between states and countries to better understand the impacts of guns on crime.

Gun Violence and Legal Gun Owner Statistics

  • There are more than 82,000,000 legal gun owners in America.
  • In 2022, Wyoming had the least firearm-related homicides (17) and more firearms per person than any other state.
  • It is currently estimated that more than 2.5 million Americans use firearms for self-defense each year.
  • States with the highest number of crime guns recovered have varying rates of ownership, meaning that lawful firearm ownership has no correlation to firearm-related crimes.
  • The number of American citizens who support strict gun control has declined since 1992 (56% in 2023 versus 78% in 1990).
  • Of the 28 states with permitless carry, only 10 have violent crimes above the national average.

Lawful Gun Ownership and Crime

States with the highest rates of gun ownership have the fewest gun crimes per the ATF eTrace. However, states with large population sizes have higher rates of guns used in crimes (recovered).

Lawful Gun Ownership and Recovered Guns

The five states with the highest number of recovered guns have varying rates of lawful gun ownership.

Unlawful Possession and Gun Violence

Criminals, Guns, and Crime

Gun violence statistics vary by state due to different state laws. In the 13 least restrictive gun states (2008), ⅔ of criminals convicted of a crime where a firearm was involved weren’t stopped by existing laws and wouldn’t have been stopped by stricter legislation.

  • 31% would not have been prohibited from firearm possession if gun laws were stricter
  • 40% were already prohibited
  • 28.9% would have been prohibited if gun laws were stricter

Note: These calculations do not include the age of the offender at the time of arrest, and therefore, the number of prohibited persons may be higher.

A 2018 study performed on inmates in Illinois shows that 74% of re-offenders were convicted of a second firearm-related crime within 10 years.

  • 68% of felons used illegal guns
  • 67% of murderers had a prior arrest record
  • 21% of murderers had multiple prior arrests
  • 2.3% of 7,632,470 arrests in 2020 involved weapons

Gun Violence Rates by Country

Many gun control proponents state that other countries do not have as many homicides as the United States. However, we can see that gun ownership does not correlate with homicide rates.

Gun Ownership and Homicide Rates

The five countries with the highest number of total homicides vary widely in gun ownership rates.

Do More Guns Equal More Homicides?

If more guns equal more homicides, then it would stand to reason that there would be more homicides per firearm. However, this isn’t the case.

While it’s true that the U.S. has more firearms and a higher homicide rate than the U.K. and Australia, the rate of homicides per firearm in the U.K. and Australia is actually much higher.

The UK vs. US crime rates

It’s important to consider gun violence statistics among various countries. The UK has 615,627 firearms with 673 total homicides, as opposed to the United States, 500,000,000 with 24,867 total homicides. There are .21 homicides per firearm in the U.K. compared to only 0.004 homicides per firearm in the U.S.

Furthermore, Americans have access to 20,107 firearms per homicide. Those in the U.K. have access to only 915 firearms per homicide.

Therefore, more firearm access does not increase homicides.

Australia vs. the U.S. crime rates

Australia has 3,500,000 firearms, with only 221 homicides in 2021. The U.S. had 500,000,000 firearms, with 24,867 firearms in 2022. There are 0.006 homicides per firearm in Australia and only 0.004 homicides per firearm in the U.S.

Furthermore, Americans have access to 20,107 firearms per homicide, and Australians have access to 15,837 firearms.

The number of accessible firearms does not increase the number of homicides.

Do Violent Crimes Increase with Firearm Access?

Another core aspect regarding gun violence statistics is the comparison between firearms and violent crimes. As many would suggest, firearms increase violent crimes. Let’s compare.

The U.K. vs. U.S.

The U.S. had 2,486,144 reported violent crimes in 2022 and 2023. The U.K. had 4,210,952 during that same time period.

With 1/10 of the firearms in the U.S., the U.K. had twice as many violent crimes.

States With Highest Gun Violence

Several police precincts failed to report gun-related crimes in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Therefore, we don’t know exactly how many crimes involved firearms.

However, we can look at the ATF crime gun data for 2021 to better understand which states have higher gun crimes.

States With Highest Gun Violence

Note: The ATF gun crime data reflects firearms used in crimes.

Does Concealed Carry Reduce Gun Violence?

There are 21 states with violent crime rates higher than the national average (380.7). Of those states, 53% restrict concealed carry with permits and registrations.

Concealed Carry and Gun Violence Reduction

How Many Crimes Are Prevented by Guns

Previously removed reports from the CDC stated that there are somewhere between 60,000 and 2.5 million defensive use cases of firearms in the U.S. each year.

  • Compared to all firearm-related deaths (homicide, suicide, accidental, and legal intervention), there were 48,830 deaths in 2021.
  • There were 47,286 homicides and suicides related to firearms in 2021.
  • There were 20,950 firearm-related homicides in 2021.
  • At a minimum, 40,000 more individuals used firearms in self-defense situations than were murdered by them.

How Many Crimes Are Prevented by Guns

A minimum of roughly 40,000 individuals used firearms for defense, as the number of people who were murdered by them.

Sources

Article posted with permission from Ammo.com

Cassandra McBride

Cassandra McBride is the youngest of four girls, her father’s last hope for a boy; she became her father’s shadow, his hunting buddy, and his fishing friend. With both parents enlisted in the U.S. Navy, she was fortunate enough to spend her youth camping in the Appalachians, hiking the Olympics, and exploring beaches on the East and West coasts. At the age of ten, she took up archery but never once recovered an arrow released from her bow. Her father, in an attempt to keep the family from going poor replacing poorly-shot arrows, took her to the gun range for the first time. His .410 in hand, she began hitting target after target. She excelled with the small shotgun, and it grew into a passion. After passing her hunting certifications at 13, she was gifted her first firearm, an antiquated 16 gauge shotgun. It was weathered, held together only by aging electrical tape, but with it, she began shooting competitively. Over the years, she has enjoyed growing as a marksman and expanding her knowledge of firearms and ammunition. She developed a new passion for writing as a Criminology major in college. She enjoyed researching and analyzing complex data sets and implementing them in real-world applications. After getting married and having children, she fell into published writing as a hobby and has since made it a career. She spends her free time reading classic literature, kayaking, fishing, and spending time on the range with her husband and four children. She continues to grow her knowledge of firearms and ammunition while taking immense pride in educating others on a passion sparked in childhood and maintained in adulthood.

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