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Global gun deaths reach 250,000 annually

August 28, 2018

A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that there are a quarter of a million gun deaths worldwide yearly. It says gun deaths are "a major public health problem for humanity."

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About 250,000 gun deaths occur annually worldwide, almost two-thirds of which were homicides, according to a study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The results reveal "a major public health problem for humanity," a JAMA editorial accompanying the analysis said.

The study tallied gun deaths in 195 different countries and territories from 1990 to 2016. Researchers counted about 209,000 gun deaths in 1990 compared with 251,000 in 2016, of which 64 percent were homicides, 27 percent were suicides and 9 percent were accidental.

Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela and United States contributed to half of the deaths, according to the study.

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The average rate, about 4 per 100,000 people, was mostly unchanged throughout the time period. However, there were larger increases in many of the countries analyzed, particularly in Central and South America.

El Salvador had the highest firearm death rate at nearly 40 per 100,000 people and Singapore had the lowest with 0.1 per 100,000.

Germany recorded some 1,220 gun deaths in 2016, according to the study, but its gun death rate that year was nearly half of what it was 25 years ago: 0.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2016 as opposed to 1.7 per 100,000 in 1990. Germany has held multiple weapons amnesties in the past decade, including one that ended a month ago, in a bid to reduce the number of illegal weapons in the country.

Mass shootings in the US have made headlines in recent years, including one on Monday at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. But the study says "suicides involving firearms greatly outnumber firearm homicides in many countries." The United States has the second-highest gun suicide rate at 6 deaths per 100,000. Greenland has the highest with 22 per 100,000, although that amounted to just 11 suicides.

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