Everytown for Gun Safety put together a research paper last week examining nonfatal gun injuries in America.
Though the authors of the study end by advocating for three specific gun-control policies — universal background checks, safe storage requirements, violent misdemeanor prohibitor laws — the non-agenda driven information is quite helpful at painting a picture of gun-related violence in America.
What one quickly realizes is that certain categories of people are disproportionately affected by gun-related violence.
You can peruse the full study, which is embedded below. But here are the main takeaways:
- Daily Impact: Every day in America, more than 230 people sustain a nonfatal gun injury.
- Intent: More than 60 in 100 gun deaths each year are by suicide, while just three in 100 hospital visits each year due to a gunshot wound are the result of a suicide attempt. This strongly reaffirms existing research on the lethality of firearms.
- Sex: 87 percent of those who visit a hospital for a gunshot wound are male, mostly adolescents and young adults.
- Age: Adolescents and young adults, starting at age 15 and peaking in the early 20s, are at highest risk of gun injury.
- Race and Ethnicity: Black people, with a rate of 113.8 nonfatal injuries per 100,000 people, have the highest rate of nonfatal gun injuries over 10 times higher than white people. The Latino/a rate of nonfatal gun injuries is double that of white people.
- State: Rates of nonfatal firearm injury vary tremendously, from states with a rate above 60 persons injured per 100,000 people (including Alabama, Washington, DC, Louisiana, and Mississippi) to rates below 10 (as in Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, and New Hampshire).
Look, the elephant in the room is that young, black men living in poor parts of large cities are both the victims and the drivers of a lopsided amount of gun violence in America. Any so-called “solution” to the “gun violence epidemic” ought to start by acknowledging this very truth. Politicians, gun-control activists, Hollywood elites, media talking-heads need to stop dancing around this reality and confront it head-on. Then and only then can sustainable progress be made.
To their credit, the authors of this study acknowledged one promising solution that has nothing to do with restricting 2A rights: hospital-based intervention programs that help victims of gun violence with recovery, employment, education, health care, and other basic needs.
Because one-fourth of nonfatal shooting victims under the age of 24 will be shot again within the next 10 years intervention is critical. What it boils down to is that putting more laws on the books isn’t going to help the situation, these young men need real support from real people.
To break that down further, changing a law does not change one’s lifestyle. A gangster doesn’t stop being a gangster because progressive politicians enacted a law limiting gun purchases to one per month or a law requiring universal background checks. A gangster will only stop being a gangster when a better path forward becomes imminently attainable.
To back up the efficacy of such programs, researchers cited a Baltimore study that found “individuals who did not participate in a hospital program were six times more likely to eventually be re-hospitalized for a violent injury and four times more likely to be convicted of a violent crime than those who did.”
“For those who participated, employment rates went up from 39 percent to 82 percent. State and local governments should invest in these programs and take advantage of grants such as the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) assistance funds to support and expand them,” they continued.
GunsAmerica highlighted one such program in Minneapolis, called “Next Step,” a few weeks ago. It also demonstrated encouraging results, showing that only 3 percent of participants became victims of violent crime again. That figure was as high as 41 percent prior to Next Step.
Along with teaching responsible gun ownership in schools, the best way to curb violence, including nonfatal gun injuries, is to fix broken people. Why “gun violence prevention” organizations don’t spend all their money on programs that aim to achieve that objective is a question worth asking. Because clearly, they know they work.
The same cannot be said for gun control, which is what all those anti-2A groups waste their money on. Even the most in-depth studies show that gun control, like a ban on “assault weapons,” has no statistically significant effect on crime. Case in point, crime dropped — not increased — following the expiration of the Clinton-Era ban on black rifles.
Gun owners are all ears when it comes to effective solutions to make our communities safer. It’s why we wholeheartedly support initiatives like the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, which promotes firearm safety and education. Quite honestly, gun owners could do much, much more along these lines if the vast majority of our collective donations and resources weren’t chewed up fending off misguided legislation that punishes law-abiding citizens while doing nothing to fix broken people.