The Cable

These Charts Show Why the U.S. Is Almost as Dangerous as Afghanistan

These charts show President Obama is right: U.S. gun violence far outpaces peer nations.


A tearful President Barack Obama, whose administration has been plagued by a spate of mass shootings, unveiled new measures Tuesday meant to curb gun violence in the United States. In doing so, he argued that peer nations don’t have the same epidemic firearm violence that Americans deal with on a routine basis.

“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency,” Obama told a White House audience of gun-control advocates. “It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”

The charts below show he’s right — assuming the United States does not consider Afghanistan its equal.

The first chart is compiled from data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, which was conducted by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and collaborators around the world. It shows all deaths by firearm per 100,000 people in the United States in 2013, compared to other advanced countries. As you can see, the U.S. is far ahead.

The second chart, made with data from the same study, shows accidental deaths by firearms per 100,000 people. Again, the United States is the clear leader.

Finally, using data from the World Bank, here’s the U.S. murder rate per 100,000 in 2012, compared to two relatively peaceful countries — Germany and Canada — and some of the more violent countries in the world.

As you can see, in 2012 a U.S. citizen was almost as likely to be murdered in America as an Afghan was to be killed in their country, wrecked by nearly 15 years of war.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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