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The Scope of the Problem: Gun Violence in the USA

  • Gun Violence (P Masiakos, Section Editor)
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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.


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

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Correspondence to David Hemenway.

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

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Hemenway, D., Nelson, E. The Scope of the Problem: Gun Violence in the USA. Curr Trauma Rep 6, 29–35 (2020).

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