Over the course of the past generation, a considerable amount of debate has occurred regarding guns, gun ownership rights, regulation of firearms. The issues associated with these discussions have included a discussion of accidental and intentional deaths caused by the use of guns in the United States.
2017 Gun Accident Statistics
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Bureau of Investigation both compiled data on gun deaths in the United States. Both of these governmental agencies take months to pull this information together for release to the public.
In advance of the release of gun death date from the CDC and FBI, the Gun Violence Archive releases its data concerning gun shooting deaths in the United States. According to that organization’s data, a total of 11,109 people in the US were injured or killed in shootings. Keep in mind that this is preliminary data. It also excludes individuals who committed suicide using a firearm.
Of that number, 347 were accidental shootings. In other words, according to the data amassed by the Gun Violence Archive about one person was injured or killed in an accidental shooting in the United States during 2017. The organization notes that this statistic represents reported and confirmed incidents involving accidental shootings in the USA during 2017.
Gun Availability and Accidental Shooting Deaths
Harvard University conducted a comprehensive 19-year analysis of accidental shooting deaths in all 50 states. At the conclusion of this in-depth study, researchers reported:
- Across all age groups, the more guns in a given state, the higher the number of accidental shooting deaths.
- The accidental gun shooting mortality rate was seven times higher in the four states with the highest number of guns compared to the four states with the lowest number of guns.
Children and Gun Accidents
Understandably, mass shootings in schools across the United States garnered a considerable amount of attention. Even as a growing number of these horrific events have occurred in the country, when mass shootings occur, the nation is stunned.
What isn’t as commonly talked about is the number of children who are killed annually as the result of an accidental gun shooting. Approximately two children are killed every other day in the United States because of an accidental shooting.
Data collected from the Gun Violence Archive examined all accidental gun deaths in the United States over a 30-month time period, running from the middle of 2014 until the end of 2016. The research revealed a number of key pieces of data.
Deaths and injuries spiked for children under the age of 5. For children under the age of 5, kids that were of the age of 3 were both the most common victims as well as the most common shooters in cases involving accidental gun deaths. During the time period of the referenced study, 90 3-year old children are either killed or injured in shootings. The vast majority of these shootings were self-inflicted.
There was a dip in the incidence of accidental shootings involving children between the ages of 6 and 14 in this study. There was a spike in shootings for children between the ages of 15 and 17. Cases in which children in this age group were shot by other children were most often fatal. In the case of self-inflicted shootings in this cohort, the children usually survived.
The vast majority of these shootings involving children happened in their own homes. The guns nearly always were legally possessed, having been initially purchased for protection. These accidental shootings involving children were most likely to occur on weekends or around major holidays.
The states which had the highest per capita rate of accidental shootings involving minors were:
Homicides Committed with Guns in the United States
The extent and frequency of accidental gun deaths in the United States can be put into at least some more definitive perspective when contrasted with homicides committed by guns in the country annually. In addition, this data can be put into a deeper perspective when analyzed against homicides committed using firearms in some specific countries around the world.
If the following list of countries is imagined to have the same population of the United States, a clearer idea of the disparity in the number of gun deaths by firearms becomes clearer still. Again, assuming all of the nations on this list have the same population, this would be the daily homicide gun death rate:
- United States – 27
- Canada – 5
- Greece – 5
- Ireland – 4
- Portugal – 3
- Finland – 3
- Luxembourg – 3
- Slovenia – 2
- Latvia – 2
- Iceland – 2
- Norway – 2
California Accidental Shooting Deaths
There were a grand total of 3,095 shooting deaths in California in 2015, according to the CDC. 2015 is the last year that the CDC currently has a full set of statistics on firearm mortality rates.
A recent study by John Hopkins University revealed that while California was the location of a significant number of homicides by gun in the United States, the incidence of accidental shootings in the state was proportionally lower than in many other states in the country. Only a fraction of the 3,095 shootings in California in 2015 were thought to be accidental.
Los Angeles Accidental Shooting Deaths
Between 1994 and 2013 a stunning 23,094 Los Angeles residents lost their lives in shooting incidents of all types. This included homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Although the data is imprecise, an average of two dozen Los Angelinos is killed in accidental shootings annually.
Accidental shootings by law enforcement personnel in Los Angeles reached 30 incidents in 2015. Most of these shootings did not result in fatalities.
Biohazards and Shooting Deaths
The cleanup, or biohazard remediation, associated with a gun shooting death is dangerous business. The reality is that blood can contain harmful pathogens. In addition, another biological matter is likely to be associated with a shooting death, which can also expose a person involved in cleaning up following a shooting to dangerous pathogens and bacteria.
Universal safety precautions, including proper equipment, is necessary to safely remediate the aftereffects of an accidental gun shooting. This includes the use of safety gear that includes: