The shooting rampage at an Oregon community college occurred in the most heavily armed nation in the world, a society with a firearm for nearly 90% of its 321 million citizens.
The gunman who shot and killed nine people and injured nine others at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg on Thursday had 14 firearms, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They were all purchased legally by the shooter or a member of his family in the past three years, officials said.
Five pistols and a rifle were found at the college, where the shooter died after a firefight with police. It’s unclear whether police shot the gunman or he turned a weapon on himself. In the killer’s apartment, authorities other weapons, including three pistols, four rifles and a shotgun.
After the massacre, a visibly shaken President Barack Obama told the nation, “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
As the nation mourns the victims of another mass shooting, the raw numbers of gun violence paint a chilling picture of America’s intimate relationship with firearms.
U.S. leads world in guns per capita
Civilians in the United States own about 270 million guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. That’s almost the population of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most-populated country. America ranks number one in firearms per capita.
In the U.S., guns are used in homicides more often than in many other countries
Obama has delivered statements on gun violence 15 times during his presidency. After the latest shooting, he said the nation had become numb to the carnage.
“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” he said. “Friends of ours, allies of ours – Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.”
U.S. gun violence kills significantly more people than terrorism – even factoring in 9/11
Since 2001, the harm from terrorists to Americans both here and abroad accounts for 0.8% of all American deaths by firearms in the United States in the same time period.
This happens year after year
The latest tragedy occurred on the picturesque campus of a community college in Oregon. Mass shootings seem to have become part of life in the United States. The numbers continue to grow.
Guns are America’s weapon of choice
Nearly 70% of homicides were committed with firearms from 2007 to 2011, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Firearms were used in roughly 26% of robberies and 31% of aggravated assaults, according to the Small Arms Survey.
Firearm deaths among leading causes of death
Gun deaths – 33, 636 – pale in comparison to the nation’s leading killer, heart disease, which claimed 611,105 lives in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, as the graph shows, guns took more lives than other top causes of death, such as hypertension (30,770) and Parkinson’s disease (25,196).