Widespread possession of firearms and improper storage thereof are cited in a new study that finds the United Sates suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation.
For example, the U.S. has the highest rate of firearm ownership among peer countries—89 civilian-owned weapons for every 100 Americans. Additionally, the U.S. is home to about 34-50 percent of the world's civilian-owned firearms.
Researchers estimated that homicide and suicide together account for about a quarter of the years of life lost for U.S. men compared to peer countries. Homicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15-24. The large majority of those homicides involved firearms.
The report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine reveals that the U.S. has approximately six violent deaths per 100,000 residents. None of the 16 other countries included in the review came anywhere close to that ratio. Finland was closest to the U.S. ranking with slightly more than two violent deaths per 100,000 residents.
The panel examined 17 high-income nations, affluent democracies that include Australia, Canada, Japan and many Western European countries.