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The Scope of the Problem: Gun Violence in the USA

Abstract

Purpose of Review

To update current understanding of the extent and impact of firearm violence in the USA.

Recent Findings

In the past decade, rates of firearm injury have increased in the USA, both absolutely and in comparison to other high-income countries. Firearm homicides, firearm suicides, and public mass shootings have all been increasing. Firearm homicide rates remain highest for young non-White males in urban areas, and firearm suicide rates remain highest for older White males in rural areas. The burden of all these shootings falls not only directly on the victims themselves but also can impact their families, friends, and communities. These more indirect costs include medical care, grief, fear, hopelessness, and PTSD. The negative effects of exposure to firearm violence have been highlighted in the literature. Individual and community efforts to prepare for and prevent the shootings entail additional costs and burdens.

Summary

The scope of the US gun problem in 2019 is far greater than is indicated merely by medical costs and body counts.

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References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Author information

Correspondence to David Hemenway.

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Dr. Hemenway and Dr. Nelson have nothing to disclose.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Hemenway, D., Nelson, E. The Scope of the Problem: Gun Violence in the USA. Curr Trauma Rep (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40719-020-00182-x

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Keywords

  • Firearm suicide
  • Firearm homicide
  • Firearm costs
  • Exposure to firearm violence
  • Medical costs
  • Weapons effect