America, armed and dangerous

Would tighter gun control laws reduce America’s unparalleled levels of gun violence? Here’s everything you need to know:

How severe is the problem?
It’s worse than in any other nation in the civilized world. Every day, an average of 300 Americans are shot. There were 36,252 firearm deaths in the U.S. in 2015 — including 22,018 suicides and 12,979 homicides — and at least 85,000 injuries. Every day, an average of nearly two women are shot dead by their partners. Nearly 6,000 children are shot each year, a fifth accidentally, with 1,300 fatalities. Since 1982, there have been 81 mass shootings — using the definition in which four or more victims die in a public incident — including three this year. (Under an alternative definition of four or more people shot in one incident, there have been 273 mass shootings so far this year.) Over the past 50 years, more Americans have been killed by guns than in all the wars in the nation’s history. The U.S. “suffers disproportionately from firearms,” says Erin Grinshteyn, author of a recent study on U.S. gun violence. “They are killing us rather than protecting us.”

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