Gun Accident Statistics in America

Learn about gun accident statistics, including the number of gun deaths in the US, the cost of fatalities, and the cost of nonfatal injuries.

The Second Amendment right to bear arms is a cornerstone American freedom. Unfortunately, a rise in school shootings and mass shootings along with high handgun death rates have led many Americans to call for stricter gun control laws that would curb gun ownership rights.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) views gun violence and gun-related deaths as a public health issue and maintains detailed statistical data to promote injury prevention.

The CDC recognizes several different categories of firearm injuries or deaths based on the reason the gunshot wound was inflicted, including:

  • Intentionally self-inflicted (firearm suicide)
  • Unintentional (accidental deaths and injuries)
  • Interpersonal violence (firearm homicide and assault)
  • Legal intervention (firearm injuries inflicted by law enforcement agents)
  • Undetermined intent (firearm injuries where there is not enough information to determine how the wound occurred)

This article will review essential gun accident statistics, including the number and types of shooting deaths and demographic information about the victims.

Notable Statistics:

  • In 2018, 39,740 people died in the United States from firearm-related injuries.
  • Of gun deaths in 2018, 61% were suicides, and 1% were homicides.
  • Approximately 4% of firearm death victims in 2018 were males.
  • The total cost of gun deaths in 2010 was over $41 billion, or just over $1.3 million per death.

Number of Gun Deaths in the U.S.

According to the CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 39,740 people died in the United States from firearm-related injuries in 2018, which averages to about 109 firearm-related deaths each day.Gun deaths in the U.S.

These deaths include:

  • 458 unintentional deaths (1.2%)
  • 24,432 suicides (61.5%)
  • 13,958 homicides (35.1%)
  • 353 deaths with undetermined intent (0.9%)
  • 539 deaths caused by legal intervention (1.4%)

The number of deaths in each category by age and sex are outlined below.

Unintentional Deaths

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 40 (23.8% of age group total; 8.7% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 10-19 — 76 (2.4% of age group total; 16.6% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 20-29 — 105 (1.2% of age group total; 22.9% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 30-39 — 68 (1.0% of age group total; 14.8% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 40-49 — 41 (0.8% of age group total; 9.0% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 50-59 — 48 (0.9% of age group total; 10.5% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 60-69 — 42 (0.9% of age group total; 9.2% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 70-79 — 30 (1.0% of age group total; 6.6% of unintentional deaths)
  • Age 80+ — 8 (0.4% of age group total; 1.7% of unintentional deaths)

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 413 (1.2% of sex total; 90.2% of unintentional deaths)
  • Female — 45 (0.8% of sex total; 9.8% of unintentional deaths)

Suicides

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 1 (0.6% of age group total; <0.1% of suicides)
  • Age 10-19 — 1,296 (40.8% of age group total; 5.3% of suicides)
  • Age 20-29 — 3,737 (41.2% of age group total; 15.3% of suicides)
  • Age 30-39 — 3,274 (47.0% of age group total; 13.4% of suicides)
  • Age 40-49 — 3,337 (62.2% of age group total; 13.7% of suicides)
  • Age 50-59 — 4,331 (78.0% of age group total; 17.7% of suicides)
  • Age 60-69 — 3,824 (86.1% of age group total; 15.7% of suicides)
  • Age 70-79 — 2,819 (91.3% of age group total; 11.5% of suicides)
  • Age 80+ — 1,813 (95.0% of age group total; 7.4% of suicides)

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 21,101 (62.1% of sex total; 86.4% of suicides)
  • Female — 3,331 (57.6% of sex total; 13.6% of suicides)

Homicides

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 117 (70.0% of age group total; 0.8% of homicides)
  • Age 10-19 — 1,714 (54.0% of age group total; 12.3% of homicides)
  • Age 20-29 — 4,990 (55.0% of age group total; 35.8% of homicides)
  • Age 30-39 — 3,408 (48.9% of age group total; 24.4% of homicides)
  • Age 40-49 — 1,836 (34.2% of age group total; 13.2% of homicides)
  • Age 50-59 — 1,079 (19.4% of age group total; 7.7% of homicides)
  • Age 60-69 — 520 (11.7% of age group total; 3.7% of homicides)
  • Age 70-79 — 214 (6.9% of age group total; 1.5% of homicides)
  • Age 80+ — 79 (4.1% of age group total; 0.6% of homicides)
  • One victim of unknown age

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 11,641 (34.3% of sex total; 83.4% of homicides)
  • Female — 2,317 (40.1% of sex total; 16.6% of homicides)

Undetermined Deaths

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 10 (5.6% of age group total; 2.8% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 10-19 — 62 (2.0% of age group total; 17.6% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 20-29 — 97 (1.1% of age group total; 27.5% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 30-39 — 56 (0.8% of age group total; 15.9% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 40-49 — 41 (0.8% of age group total; 11.6% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 50-59 — 40 (0.7% of age group total; 11.3% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 60-69 — 24 (0.5% of age group total; 6.8% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 70-79 — 16 (0.5% of age group total; 4.5% of undetermined deaths)
  • Age 80+ — 7 (0.4% of age group total; 2.0% of undetermined deaths)

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 284 (0.8% of sex total; 80.5% of undetermined deaths)
  • Female — 69 (1.2% of sex total; 19.5% of undetermined deaths)

Legal Intervention Deaths

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 0
  • Age 10-19 — 26 (0.8% of age group total; 4.8% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 20-29 — 141 (1.6% of age group total; 26.2% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 30-39 — 159 (2.3% of age group total; 29.5% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 40-49 — 111 (2.1% of age group total; 20.6% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 50-59 — 58 (1.0% of age group total; 10.8% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 60-69 — 32 (0.7% of age group total; 5.9% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 70-79 — 10 (0.3% of age group total; 1.9% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Age 80+ — 2 (0.1% of age group total; 0.4% of legal intervention deaths)

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 516 (1.5% of sex total; 95.7% of legal intervention deaths)
  • Female — 23 (0.4% of sex total; 4.3% of legal intervention deaths)

Totals

Breakdown by age

  • Age 0-9 — 168 (0.4% of total deaths)
  • Age 10-19 — 3,174 (8.0% of total deaths)
  • Age 20-29 — 9,070 (22.8% of total deaths)
  • Age 30-39 — 6,965 (17.5% of total deaths)
  • Age 40-49 — 5,366 (13.5% of total deaths)
  • Age 50-59 — 5,556 (14.0% of total deaths)
  • Age 60-69 — 4,442 (11.2% of total deaths
  • Age 70-79 — 3,089 (7.8% of total deaths)
  • Age 80+ —1,909 (4.8% of total deaths)
  • One victim of unknown age

Breakdown by sex

  • Male — 33,955 (85.4% of total deaths)
  • Female — 5,785 (14.6% of total deaths)

Gun deaths by age and sex

Costs of Gun Deaths

The total cost of gun deaths in 2010, which is the most recent year for which WISQARS cost data is available, was $41,241,022,000, which is an average cost of $1,302,129 per death. This total includes $186,585,000 in medical expenses and $41,054,437,000 in work loss cost.Cost of gun deathsA detailed breakdown of the total and average costs of firearm deaths is listed below.

Unintentional Deaths

  • Deaths — 606 (1.9%)
  • Total Medical Cost — $6.085,000 (3.3%)
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $851,904,000 (2.1%)
  • Total Combined Cost — $857,989,000 (2.1%)
  • Average Medical Cost — $10,041
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,405,782
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,415,823

Suicides

  • Deaths — 19,392 (61.2%)
  • Total Medical Cost — $70,115,000 (37.6%)
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $21,026,163,000 (51.2%)
  • Total Combined Cost — $21,096,278,000 (51.2%)
  • Average Medical Cost — $3,616
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,084,270
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,087,886

Homicides

  • Deaths — 11,078 (35.0%)
  • Total Medical Cost — $105,449,000 (56.5%)
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $18,291,454,000 (44.6%)
  • Total Combined Cost — $18,396,903,000 (44.6%)
  • Average Medical Cost — $9,519
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,651,151
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,660,670

Undetermined Deaths

  • Deaths — 252 (0.8%)
  • Total Medical Cost — $2,241,000 (1.2%)
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $344,108,000 (0.8%)
  • Total Combined Cost — $346,349,000 (0.8%)
  • Average Medical Cost — $8,892
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,365,508
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,374,400

Legal Intervention Deaths

  • Deaths — 344 (1.1%)
  • Total Medical Cost — $2,695,000 (1.4%)
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $540,808,000 (1.3%)
  • Total Combined Cost — $543,504,000 (1.3%)
  • Average Medical Cost — $7,836
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,572,117
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,579,952

Totals

  • Deaths — 31,672
  • Total Medical Cost — $186,585,000
  • Total Work Loss Cost — $41,054,437,000
  • Total Combined Cost — $41,241,022,000
  • Average Medical Cost — $5,891
  • Average Work Loss Cost — $1,296,238
  • Average Combined Cost — $1,302,129

Breakdown of gun death costs

Costs of Nonfatal Injuries

In 2010, WISQARS data also shows that unintentional firearm injuries and gunshots caused by an assault resulting in hospitalization cost an average of $107,532 per injury, totaling $4,147,046,000. This amount includes $852,866,000 in medical costs and $4,147,046,000 in work loss costs.

Costs of non-fatal gun injuries

For the same year, the total cost of accidental gun injuries treated in an emergency room with no additional hospitalization required was $39,068,000, for an average of $5,093 per incident. This total includes $14,064,000 in medical expenses and $25,003,000 in lost work.

For both injuries requiring hospitalization and injuries treated in the emergency department, WISQARS data is not available for any other type of firearm injury than the categories mentioned above.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a gun accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses. If you are interested in learning more, you can reach out to a local personal injury law firm to schedule a free initial consultation.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>