The Americas lead in worldwide gun deaths

The Americas lead in worldwide gun deaths

The Americas lead in worldwide gun deaths

Although recent headlines make it seem like gun killings are surging globally, the new figures tell a more nuanced story.

In the USA, where the polarizing issue of gun ownership and regulation has been at the fore of public debate in the wake of recent mass shootings, gun deaths rose from 35,800 in 1990 to 37,200 in 2016.

A new study has found that global gun deaths have passed 250,000 per year, with the United States and five other countries in the Americas making up half the total fatalities.

The average rate, about 4 per 100,000 people, was mostly unchanged throughout the time period. One child is shot every 17 hours. Researchers counted about 209,000 gun deaths in 1990 compared with 251,000 in 2016, of which 64 percent were homicides, 27 percent were suicides and 9 percent were accidental. At 6 per 100,000, gun suicides the U.S. ranks second for gun suicides behind Greenland who recorded 22 per 100,000.

El Salvador had the highest firearm death rate at almost 40 per 100,000 people and Singapore had the lowest with 0.1 per 100,000.

The numbers reflect more than "how many guns are around in a country", said lead author Dr. Christopher Murray, a professor of health metrics at the University of Washington.

• Gun deaths outnumbered deaths from combat and terrorism every year except 1994, when 800,000 people died in Rwandan genocide.

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