Impact of Gun Violence

Impact of Gun Violence

The impact of gun violence is far-reaching and devastating.  By understanding impact and acknowledging shared concerns, we can begin to identify ways to effectively address gun violence in a bipartisan manner.

Impact on children

To protect children and adolescents, priorities for gun safety policies include safe firearm storage, extreme risk protection orders and universal background checks. impact of guns on children

  1. 1 in 3 homes with children have guns; most children 5-14 years of age know where the firearm is stored.
  2. Among households with firearms and children less than 18 years of age, 22% have a loaded gun in the home.
  3. The presence of loaded unlocked firearms in the home increases the risk of suicide among adolescents by 4x.

For More Information & How to Take Action:

Domestic violence & firearms

Guns and domestic violence have long been a deadly combination. Every 16 hours an intimate partner with a gun kills a woman in the U.S. In addition to the physical danger guns pose, research reveals long-term emotional and behavioral effects of violence, aggression, depression and anxiety resulting from exposure to domestic violence. Visit our Domestic Violence and Firearms Stats Sheet for analysis on domestic violence and use of firearms in Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.

  • Domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm.
  • 44% of mass shootings between 2008-2013 involved intimate partners and 80% of child victims of mass shootings (4 or more deaths; not including school shootings) died in an incident connected to domestic violence (Dept. of Justice study, 2010-16)
  • The gun homicide rate for women in the U.S. is 21 times higher than in other high-income countries
  • 81% of Americans support legislation that helps keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers [1]

 For Additional Information:

  1. Barry, Colleen L., et al., “Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners in 2017” American Journal For Public Health 108, no.7 (2018) 878-881.
  2. Cipriano, Andrea, TCR staff, “The Deadly Link Between Guns and Domestic Violence”, The Crime, May 30, 2019.
  3. Keck, David, Rothman, et al. “Guns and Violence Against Women: America’s Uniquely Lethal Intimate Partner Violence Problem”,, October 17, 2019.

Impact on communities

Gun violence has changed the way many Americans live their lives. 

  • Exposure to gun violence can create a cycle of violence. Psychological effects may include anger and disassociation, desensitization to violence, and an increased likelihood that violence will be used to resolve problems or express emotions.Impact of Guns on Communities
  • Routine gun violence is more concentrated in African American communities and disproportionately affects young men, particularly young African Americans. 
  • The US is average among developed countries on urban crime rate, mental illness, use of violent media, and non-firearm homicide rates.  But our gun homicide rate is 20% higher because of easy access to guns. Guns don’t kill people; they just make it really easy.
  • 60% of all gun deaths are suicides.  A gun in the home makes a suicide 3x more likely because many suicide attempts are impulsive; 85-91% of firearm suicide attempts are successful.
  • The community pays a significant price for gun violence.  A 2019 study by Force Detroit showed that one gun homicide in Detroit costs local and state governments $1.6M; for a gunshot injury, it’s $1.1M, click here for a cost breakdown.  Crime and gun violence encourage urban flight, thus reducing housing values, community investment, and business growth.  

For More Information: 

Impact of Gun Violence on Children, Families and Communities,” Child Welfare League of America, vol. 23, no. 1.

“Detroit homicide prosecutions cost society $1.6M per shooting, report says,” The Detroit News, June 29, 2019.

View our analysis of local violent crime, domestic violence, and suicide rates and check out the facts below on the impact of guns on communities.

Suicide & Firearms

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in America. Guns are a devastatingly effective means of ending one’s own life. Nearly 50% of all suicides in America involve a gun and suicides account for about 60% of all gun-related deaths. 58 Americans kill themselves with a gun every day. You can see this in our suicide and firearms report with local data through 2017.

  • According to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), guns are not the most common way to attempt suicide, but they are the most fatal. Suicide by firearms has an 80-90% effective rate, compared to all other methods, such as drug overdose or hanging.
  • Suicide is often an impulsive decision. A gun in the home increases the risk of suicide. 
  • Approximately 90% of people who survive suicide attempts don’t go on to kill themselves.
  • According to a 2017 study of Maryland suicides published in AJPH, men account for about 80% of all suicides and nearly 90% of gun-related suicides.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Veterans; 20 Veterans die from suicide each day. 

For More Information:

  1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Firearms & Suicide Prevention.”
  2. Kerry Shaw, “10 Essential Facts about Guns and Suicide,” The Trace, September 2016.
  3. VA Suicide Prevention Program, “Facts about Veteran Suicide,” July 2016.

Unintentional Shootings

Local Impact:  In the period January 2014 – August 2018 there were 533 unintentional shootings verified in Florida; 32 were in Pinellas County and 20 of those were in South Pinellas, District 13, which includes St. Petersburg

Facts You Should Know:
*  4.6 million children in the United States live in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm.
*  An average of 7.6 children in the U.S. die each day from gunshot wounds.
*  A federal government study estimated that 31% of unintentional shootings might be prevented by two devices: a childproof safety lock and a loaded chamber indicator (a device that indicates there’s a bullet in the chamber and built into the gun; a slide can be used to swap out the part).

  1. For More Information:
    Pinellas County data from Gun Violence Archive, 
  2. Deborah Azreal, Joanna Cohen, Carmel Sahl and Matthew Miller, “Firearm Storage in Gun-Owning Households with Children: Results of a 2015 Survey,” Journal of Urban Health, June 2018.
  3. Devin Hughes, “Gun Storage Works: Safe Storage Saves Lives [opinion],” The Hill, May 31, 2018.
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