The U.S. continues to lead the world in gun ownership and is outnumbered only by Brazil in the annual number of deaths by gunfire. As of 2019, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, U.S. citizens owned more guns than did the citizens of any other nation, 120.5 guns per 100 people—we have twenty percent more guns than people. That’s almost twice the figure for the country with the second highest number, Falkland Islands, at 62.1 guns per 100 people.
We are also next to the top of the list of countries with the highest total gun deaths. Only Brazil outdid us in total gun deaths in 2019. It accounted for 49,436 deaths by gunfire. We had 37, 038.
I don’t know what it will take for Americans to understand that we must reduce the number of guns we possess to be able to shrink the number killed by gunfire. The parallel between the number of guns in the hands of the citizenry and the number killed annually by gunfire is consistent throughout the world. Examples from current news are instructive: if Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, had not owned an AR-15, a lightweight semi-automatic rifle, he could never have fatally shot two men and wounded another in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. And on November 30, 2021, a gunman opened fire on students and staff at Oxford High School in the Detroit exurb of Oxford Township, Michigan, United States, killing four students and injuring seven other people, including a teacher.
I continue to believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the history of the world. But it’s not without its flaws. The fact that we allow over 37,000 people to die each year by gunfire is one of our worst failings. We must get rid of the guns.