The news is often quick to remind us of all of the negative aspects of firearm ownership. You hear about it any time there is an accident or a “mass shooting”.
It shouldn’t go without notice that accidental deaths caused by firearms are down though. Not only are they down, but they have been steadily decreasing for decades now.
The most recent year for this data is 2015, and there were 489 deaths that were ruled to be accidental in that year. That number is down from 824 accidental deaths in 1999. Adjusting for population growth in that time, it is nearly a 50% decrease in accidental deaths.
Males made up more than 85% of the accidental deaths in 2015. The ages of 15-34 made up the biggest group of men at risk of accidental shooting death.
In 2015, “accidental deaths” just over 1% of the deaths by firearm. Suicide (always the leading cause of death by firearm in the US) led making up 61% of the deaths by firearm in 2015 with 22,018. Homicide made up 36% of deaths by firearm with 12,974. “Other” made up about 2% of the deaths.
The decrease in firearm accidents is highly attributable to a higher degree of firearms safety courses and training as well as increased access to information regarding firearms and their proper/safe handling. The NRA, firearms personalities, and the internet in general has undoubtedly played an integral part.
The graph below shows the steady decline over the last several years.