Gun deaths worldwide total about 250,000 yearly and the United States is among just six countries that make up half of those fatalities, a new study has found.
The results from one of the most comprehensive analyses of firearm deaths reveal “a major public health problem for humanity,” according to an editorial published with the study on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although recent headlines make it seem like gun killings are surging globally, the new figures tell a more nuanced story.
Researchers counted about 209,000 gun deaths in 1990 compared to 251,000 in 2016. The average rate, about 4 per 100,000 people, was mostly unchanged.
Two-thirds of the deaths in 2016 were homicides, although the US is among wealthy countries where suicides by gun outnumber gun killings, the study found.
The numbers reflect more than “how many guns are around in a country,” said lead author Dr. Christopher Murray, a professor of…