President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, a renowned Boston-based physician, has advocated for stricter gun-control laws and referred to the U.S. rates of gun violence as a public health threat. Murthy’s views have ignited opposition from the gun lobby and politicians on both sides of the aisle, virtually assuring an end to his bid to become the U.S.’s top public health official.
In any debate about gun control and violence prevention, it is useful to examine data on gun deaths.
How does the US stack up against other countries when it comes to homicides involving guns? The screen grab below, which uses findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, illustrates the difference in firearm homicide rates between the US and other high-income countries. Adjusting for differences in population size, rates of homicides from guns were 6.6 times larger in the US than in Portugal, the country with one of the highest rates in Western Europe.
Firearm homicide rates in selected high-income countries, 2010