The Facts

Seventy percent of suicide attempters decide to kill themselves on an impulse -- less than an hour before their attempt.
Ninety percent of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. Given these facts about suicide, access to guns likely turns an impulse into a final decision.

Miller, Matthew, Hemenway, David, Guns and Suicide in the United States, New England Journal of Medicine 359:10(September 4, 2008):989-991.

States with weaker gun laws are more likely to export crime guns to other states.
Also, criminals who live in weaker gun law states appear better able to acquire guns from in-state sources. States with weaker gun laws have higher gun murder rates and higher rates of fatal shootings of police officers than stronger gun law states.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, The Movement of Illegal Guns in America: The Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Gun Trafficking, December 2008.

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 3,184 children and teens died from gunfire in the United States in 2006 - a 6 percent increase from 2005.
This means one young life lost every two hours and 45 minutes, almost nine every day, 61 every week. The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2006 would fill more than 127 public school classrooms of 25 students each. More preschoolers (63) were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers (48) killed in the line of duty. Since 1979, gun violence has ended the lives of 107,603 children and teens in America.

Children's Defense Fund, Protect Children , Not Guns, September 16, 2009

From February 2004 through February 2010, FBI data show that individuals on the terrorist watchlist were involved in firearm or explosives background checks 1228 times.
1,119 (about 91 percent) of these transactions were allowed to proceed because no prohibiting information was found - such as felony convictions, illegal immigrant status, or other disqualifying factors - and 109 of the transactions were denied.

United States Government Accountability Office, Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, May 5, 2010

On September 10, 2001, Ali Boumelhem was convicted on a variety of weapons violations plus conspiracy to ship weapons to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.
He and his brother Mohamed had purchased an arsenal of shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, flash suppressors and assault weapons parts from Michigan gun shows without undergoing background checks.

E.J. Montini, Terrorist Guns Being Supplied by U.S Patriots, Arizona Republic, Oct. 9, 2001; Thomas Oliphant, Lax Gun Laws Help Terrorists, Boston Globe, Sept. 25, 2001 at A19; Associated Press, Man Accused of Shipping Arms, Ammunition to Beirut, AP Newswires, Nov. 21, 2000.

A manual titled, "How Can I Train Myself for Jihad" was found among the rubble at a training facility for a radical Pakistan-based Islamic terrorist organization.
The manual contains a chapter on "Firearms Training" and singles out the U.S. for its easy availability of firearms and states that al-Qaeda members in the U.S. can "obtain an assault rifle legally, preferably AK-47 or variations.

Anonymous pamphlet, How Can I Train Myself for Jihad, copy in files of Violence Policy Center

Law enforcement officials say Bedell (who shot 2 Pentagon police officers), a man with a history of severe psychiatric problems, had been sent a letter by California authorities Jan. 10 telling him he was prohibited from buying a gun because of his mental history.
Nineteen days later, the officials say, Bedell bought the Ruger at a gun show in Las Vegas. Such a sale by a private individual does not require the kind of background check that would have stopped Bedell's purchase.

AP: Pentagon, Las Vegas Guns From Tenn. Police, March 14, 2010

All four of the guns used in the Columbine school massacre were bought at gun shows without background checks.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Gun Show loophole factsheet, www.closetheloophole.com

ATF Assistant Director for Field operations William Hoover said in Congressional testimony on February 7, 2008 that "increased incidence of firearms trafficking to Mexico (from the US) is influenced by," in part, "a readily accessible source of firearms and ammunition originating in mostly the secondary market such as gun shows, flea markets and private sales."

William Hoover, Statement Before the United States House of representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, February 7, 2008

"Indeed, a review of criminal investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reveals a wide variety of violations occurring at gun shows and substantial numbers of firearms associated with gun shows being used in drug crimes and crimes of violence, as well as being passed illegally to juveniles."

U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice joint report: Gun Shows: Brady Checks and Crime Gun Traces, January 1999.

The ATF's tracing data has found that a small number of dealers account for a large portion of firearms traced from crimes.
Just 1.2 percent of dealers (licensed retail dealers and pawnbrokers) accounted for 57 percent of the crime guns traced to current dealers in 1998.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) report: Commerce in Firearms in the United States, February 2000.

40% of American households with children have guns.

Peter Hart Research Associates Poll, July 1999

22 million children live in homes with at least one firearm.
34% of children in the United States (representing more than 22 million children in 11 million homes) live in homes with at least one firearm. In 69 percent of homes with firearms and children, more than one firearm is present.

The RAND Corporation, "Guns in the Family: Firearm Storage Patterns in U.S. Homes with Children," March 2001, an analysis of the 1994 National Health Interview Survey and Year 2000 objectives supplement. Also published as Schuster et al., "Firearm Storage Patterns in U.S. Homes with Children," American Journal of Public Health 90(4): 588-594, April 2000

A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting, than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.
A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting, a criminal assault or homicide, or an attempted or completed suicide than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense.

Journal of Trauma, 1998

In 1997, gunshot wounds were the second leading cause of injury death for men and women 10-24 years of age.
In 1997, gunshot wounds were the second leading cause of injury death for men and women 10-24 years of age -- second only to motor vehicle crashes -- while the firearm injury death rate among males 15-24 years of age was 42% higher than the motor vehicle traffic injury death rate.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 1999

In the U.S, children under 15 commit suicide with guns at a rate of eleven times the rate of other countries combined.
For children under the age of 15, the rate of suicide in the United States is twice the rate of other counties. For suicides involving firearms, the rate was almost eleven times the rate of other countries combined.

U.S. Department of Justice, March 2000

Guns in the home are the primary source for firearms that teenagers use to kill themselves in the United States.
Studies show that guns in the home are the primary source for firearms that teenagers use to kill themselves.

Injury Prevention, 1999

85% of Americans want mandatory handgun registration.
85% of Americans endorse the mandatory registration of handguns and 72% also want mandatory registration of longguns (rifles and shotguns).

1998 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago

85% of Americans want a background check and 5-day waiting period before a handgun is purchased.
85% of Americans want a background check and 5-day waiting period before a handgun is purchased.

1998 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago

95% of Americans think that US made handguns should meet the same safety standards as imported guns.
95% of Americans favor having handguns manufactured in the United States meet the same safety and quality standards that imported guns must meet.

1998 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago

51% of the guns used in crimes by juveniles and people 18 to 24 were acquired by "straw purchasers," people who buy several guns legally through licensed dealers, then sell them to criminals, violent offenders, and kids.
51% of the guns used in crimes by juveniles and people 18 to 24 were acquired by "straw purchasers," people who buy several guns legally through licensed dealers, then sell them to criminals, violent offenders, and kids.

ATF report, Crime Gun Trace Analysis, February 1999

More Americans were killed by guns than by war in the 20th Century.
More Americans were killed with guns in the 18-year period between 1979 and 1997 (651,697), than were killed in battle in all wars since 1775 (650,858). And while a sharp drop in gun homicides has contributed to a decline in overall gun deaths since 1993, the 90's will likely exceed the death toll of the 1980s (327,173) and end up being the deadliest decade of the century. By the end of the 1990s, an estimated 350,000 Americans will have been killed in non-military-related firearm incidents during the decade.

Handgun Control 12/30/99 (Press release from CDC data)

A classroom is emptied every two days in America by gunfire
In 1998, 3,792 American children and teens (19 and under) died by gunfire in murders, suicides and unintentional shootings. That's more than 10 young people a day.

Unpublished data from the Vital Statistics System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2000.

Toy guns and teddy bears have more federal manufacturing regulations than real guns.

Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, Deaths: Final Data for 1999. NVSR Volume 49, No. 8. 114 pp. (PHS) 2001-1120.

Every day 79 people are killed by firearms in America.
In 1999 a total of 28,874 persons died from firearm injuries in the United States, down nearly 6 percent from the 30,625 deaths in 1998.
88% of the US population and 80% of US gun owners support childproofing all new handguns.
88% of the US population and 80% of US gun owners support childproofing all new handguns.

Johns Hopkins University Center of Gun Policy and Research, 1997/1998

Kids in America are 12 times more likely to be killed by a gun than kids in 25 other industrialized nations combined.
The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children aged less than 15 years was nearly 12 times higher than among children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Rates of Homicide, Suicide, and Firearm-Related Death Among Children -- 26 Industrialized Countries," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 46(05): 101-105, February 07, 1997.

Guns stored in the home are used 72% of the time when children are accidentally killed and injured, commit suicide with a firearm.
In 72% of unintentional deaths and injuries, suicide, and suicide attempts with a firearm of 0-19 year-olds, the firearm was stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.

Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center Study, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, August 1999

Medical costs from gun injuries and deaths cost $19 billion. The US taxpayer will pay half of that cost.
Direct medical costs for firearm injuries range from $2.3 billion to $4 billion, and additional indirect costs, such as lost potential earnings, are estimated at $19.0 billion.

Miller and Cohen, Textbook of Penetrating Trauma, 1995; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000; Journal of American Medical Association, June 1995; Annals of Internal Medicine, 1998