Gun Deaths in the U.S. Hit Highest Level in Over 20 Years

The rate of gun deaths in the U.S. has hit its highest level in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings in 2017, according to new government figures. The numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 39,773 people in the U.S. lost their lives after being shot or shooting themselves in 2017. That represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people—up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate since 1996. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that compares with rates of 0.2 gun deaths per 100,000 people in Japan, 0.3 in the U.K., 0.9 in Germany, and 2.1 in Canada. Suicide is by far the greatest killer, accounting for about 60 percent of all gun deaths. Almost 24,000 people, or 6.9 per 100,000, killed themselves with a gun in 2014—that's up from 6.1 in 2010 and 5.9 in 2000. Last year also saw the deadliest mass shooting by an individual to take place modern U.S. history, when 58 people died in a massacre on the Las Vegas Strip.