Nowhere in the western world are there as many guns per inhabitant as in the USA, nowhere else so many gun victims. In the first week of this month alone, 24 people were shot – facts and figures about an irritating phenomenon.

July is just six days old and in just under a week, 24 people have already been shot dead in the United States. The seven people from Highland Park near Chicago who were killed indiscriminately by a 21-year-old on National Day have already been followed by four more victims. The US statistics site “gunviolencearchive” counts a total of 23 shootings this month. Number of injured: 130 people.

405,491 people have been shot dead since 2014

Since 2014, the website has meticulously listed every shootout in the United States. Even those without victims. 405,491 died from rifles and pistols during this period.

Not listed are those who died at the hands of the police. Like on July 3, when 25-year-old Jayland Walker died in a hail of bullets after being checked. The doctors counted more than 60 gunshot wounds. Exactly how many shots were fired at the fleeing man has yet to be determined. So far there is talk of 90.

90 shots. A man, a black man, who probably had a gun, but no more than he did when he tried to get away from the police on foot. In the whole of 2019, all police officers in Germany fired exactly 62 shots. 15 of them were fatal.

One reason for the frequent use of the service weapon in the USA is the high proportion of rifles and pistols in the country. Statistically, there is a gun for almost every American — although 60 percent don’t own any. The estimated 260 million registered weapons are distributed among around 130 million US citizens. During their operations, security forces must therefore always expect to meet someone who is armed.

Only recently did the highest US court expand the already very liberal gun laws again: The Supreme Court overturned a New York State law that stipulates that a valid reason must be demonstrated in order to obtain a license for the concealed carry of a handgun outside the home to obtain. The regulation dates back to 1914. At that time, a gun ban was discussed for the first time in Germany at almost the same time. One reason was the many fatal accidents caused by shootings among younger men. However, a corresponding law was not passed until 1928.

A good guy with a gun can only fight a bad guy with a gun – that’s one of the favorite sayings of gun advocates. However, this logic rarely works. The state of Iowa, however, is such a case: Here, almost every second person has a gun, but the number of gun victims is lower than the national average. “Our weapons make us polite. You never know what someone is wearing under their jacket,” the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” quoted a barman from the corner as saying in a report.

Incidentally, the western society with the fewest victims of firearms is Japan. According to the last currently available figures from 2014, just six people were shot there – out of a population of 125 million. There the possession of weapons is de facto completely forbidden.

Just as many traffic deaths as gun victims

At 36,000, the number of traffic fatalities is roughly the same as for gun deaths. Converted to 100,000 inhabitants, that is more than twice as many as in Germany. 2500 people lost their lives here.

Sources: DPA, AFP, Statista, “FAZ”, Gunpolicy, Heise, Campaignzero, Gunviolencearchive, CBS News, Fivethirtyeight, “New York Times”, Tagesschau