healthHealth and Medicine

99.85% Of Americans Will Know A Victim Of Gun Violence At Some Point In Their Lives


Ben Taub

Freelance Writer

clockNov 2 2016, 14:16 UTC

Gun violence is a major problem in the US. Niyazz/Shutterstock

The likelihood of any given person in the US knowing a victim of gun violence within their social network is an incredible 99.85 percent, according to new research published in the latest edition of the journal Preventative Medicine.

In their study, the researchers write that these figures indicate that “exposure to gun violence is certain for some individuals,” and urge both policymakers and the general public to take note of this shocking statistic when forming opinions about the role of firearms in society. “Leaving aside constitutional debates about approaches to controlling gun violence, it might inform our national conversation to recognize that nearly all Americans, of all racial/ethnic groups, will know a victim of gun violence in their social network.”


The team reached their findings by examining data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relating to fatal and non-fatal gun violence in 2013. They also used previously established estimates that put the number of relationships in the average person’s social network at 291, in order to calculate the probability of any given American knowing someone that had been the target of a shooting.

This includes assaults, suicides, and unintentional or undefined incidents. Overall, the statistics showed that in 2013 there were 33,636 gun deaths in the US, as well as 84,258 non-fatal injuries caused by firearms. Of the fatalities, 21,000 were suicides.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that the probability of knowing a victim of gun violence was higher for ethnic minorities, with the figure standing at 99.9 percent for African Americans and 99.5 percent for Hispanics, compared to 97.1 percent for non-Hispanic whites.


While this led to an overall likelihood of 99.85 percent across the board, the chances of knowing someone that had actually died as a result of being shot was 84.3 percent.

Wherever you stand on the right to bear arms, figures like this make it hard to deny that something has to be done to bring gun violence under control.

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  • suicide,

  • murder,

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  • gun violence