Elisabeth Fosslien's Charts Will Make You Much Smarter In The Gun-Control Debate


Many people agree that something should be done to curb mass shootings in America.

But a dearth of data about domestic gun use has sometimes hamstrung the debate.

Elisabeth Fosslien, a web analytics guru at Chicago’s Leo Burnett ad agency, has created 24 charts that break down everything we currently know about guns in the U.S.

Much of the data is from the last decade — but again, that’s a reflection of the absence of new information currently available.

Huge thanks to Fosslien for giving us permission to run her charts.

Something changed last year.

Americans have realised the U.S. is an outlier — our rate of firearm possession dwarfs that of other countries.

Guns are cheaper here.

By any measure, gun-related incidents in the U.S. are literally popping off the charts.

Frighteningly, it used to be even worse.

There are some patterns among the incidents — we know the age groups most at risk.

And we know where the problems are.

Although in some ways problems here are not related to mass shootings.

Not all states with high rates of gun possession have gun homicide problems.

But again, there is correlation — if your state has a large number of guns, it's likely murders will be committed with them.

Yet they remain a part of our culture.

Handguns remain the most popular firearm.

And are also the most common weapon in mass shootings — though generally this category is dominated by automatic weapons.

Here's where the laws stand.

Guns remain a divisive issue.

And until very recently, public opinion had actually begun to shift away from stricter gun control measures.

But a recent Gallup poll showed some surprising results about what people think would prevent mass shootings.

Views that have changed significantly since 2005.

Again, there's been a shift in opinion over time — though mums remain more in favour of handgun bans.

Although outright bans would be no panacea.

The greater inequality your state had, the more likely there were to be gun deaths.

Fosslien's sources...

Average firearms per 100 people, Small Arms Survey
Cost of an AK-47 in USD, Gun Policy
GDP per capita, PPP, World Databank
Mortality rate due to intentional homicide rate, UNODC
Percentage gun homicides per 100,000 people, The Guardian
Handgun homicides in the US, BJS
Gun homicides in the US, BJS
Total gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, The Atlantic
Total gun-related homicides per 100,000 people, The Atlantic
Percentage ownership, USACarry
Firearm murders by state, FBI UCR
States with ban/require permits, Wall Street Journal
Murder rates in banned/allowed nations, Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?
High gun states, low gun states, Private Guns, Public Health
General statistics, Gallup and CNN
Number of nonmilitary guns in the US, Wall Street Journal
Guns used in mass shootings, Mother Jones
Support bans, The Washington Post + Gallup
For or against semi-automatic possession ban, Gallup
Very or somewhat effective in preventing mass school shooting, Gallup
Responses to 'Would X place be safer?', Gallup
Percentage who favour a Handgun Ban, Gallup
Factors correlated with gun-related homicide, The Atlantic

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