U.S. gun violence: The story in charts and graphs
Updated 6:58 PM ET, Fri December 4, 2015
(CNN)Mass shootings, and calls for gun control. They're familiar refrains in the news, prompting debates on the right to bear arms and government efforts to limit access to guns in the name of public safety.
Here's a look at guns and gun violence in charts and graphics:
The U.S. has more guns per capita than any other country
Civilians in the United States own about 270 million guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. That's slightly more than the population of Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populated country. America ranks No. 1 in firearms per capita.
And demand for guns is on the rise
According to the FBI, 2015 was a record year for background checks on guns. Some have pointed out the requests for background checks have gone up after mass shootings, the idea being that shootings cause people to worry about their safety and buy a gun to protect themselves. The month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, for example, saw a surge in requests for background checks. The terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, had a similar effect.
Even though the homicide rate has fallen sharply in the last 50 years
The intense public focus on mass shootings and other killings belies a larger trend: The homicide rate has fallen sharply in the United States. The homicide rates for 2013 and 2014 were the lowest in more than 50 years. Firearms are used in roughly 7 in 10 killings, the FBI says.