Intended for healthcare professionals


US gun violence and deaths

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 23 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1074
  1. Margaret Winker, trustee1,
  2. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Bartley Dobb professor for the study and prevention of violence2,
  3. Frederick P Rivara, Seattle Children’s Guild Association endowed chair in paediatric research2
  1. 1World Association of Medical Editors, Kirkland, Washington, USA
  2. 2Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to: M Winker margaretwinker{at}

Federal funding at last, but research without laws will solve little

The crisis of gun violence in the United States continues unabated. In 2018, of 39 740 firearm deaths, 24 432 were suicides (roughly half of all suicides) and 13 958 were homicides, with Mississippi, Alabama, and Wyoming having the highest rates of all gun deaths (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii had the lowest).1 As of 2015, US deaths from gun violence were11.2/100 000 population (35 759 total deaths) compared with 1/100 000 in other high income countries (6965 total deaths).2

The Small Arms Survey 2018 estimated that the US has 1.2 guns per civilian, more than any other country in the world (followed by Yemen, at 0.53).3 Those guns are owned by 29% of the population, with 37% of people reporting having a gun at home, according to Gallup.4 Most people in the US want stricter laws that would better restrict access to firearms for those who might use them to harm themselves or others.4


Despite these firearm injury and death statistics and the public desire to change them, since 1997, US federal funding for research has been …

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