US gun violence: 17,000 killed in the last five months alone

Only five months into 2022, more than 17,000 people, including 650 children, have been shot and killed in the United States.

Buffalo Police on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. According to reports, at least 10 people were killed after a mass shooting at the store with the shooter in police custody.  Picture: John Normile/Getty Images/AFP

WASHINGTON - Only five months into 2022, more than 17,000 people, including 650 children, have been shot and killed in the United States.

The toll of gun violence in America is staggering, according to figures compiled by organisations pushing for stricter regulation of firearms sales.

111 DEATHS PER DAY

Nearly 41,000 people are killed by gun violence every year in the United States on average, according to the organisation Everytown for Gun Safety, translating to 111 victims every day.

In Texas, where the sale of personal firearms is only marginally regulated, an average of more than 3,600 people are killed by guns every year, according to Everytown.

Since the beginning of 2022, at least 17,199 people have been killed by guns, according to a count by the Gun Violence Archive.

About 7,600 of them were victims of homicide, either purposeful or accidental, and more than 9,500 died by suicide.

In 2021, more than 45,000-gun deaths were recorded, including 20,920 murders - the highest since 2017, when around 58,000 people were killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Shootings also leave other casualties: In the last six months, some 14,000 people have been wounded by a gun.

THE YOUNGEST VICTIMS

Children are not spared when it comes to the cost of US gun violence.

Even when they are not the direct targets of violence, such as in Tuesday's massacre at a school in Uvalde, Texas, they can become the collateral victims of stray bullets or accidental discharges.

So far in 2022, some 640 minors have been shot and killed, and more than double that number, 1,594, have been injured.

Of that number, 140 of the children killed and nearly 300 of those injured have been age 11 or younger.

Last year, 1,560 kids were killed and more than 4,000 wounded.

MORE THAN ONE MASS SHOOTING PER DAY

There have been 213 known mass shootings in the United States in the first 145 days of 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which categorises such incidents as ones in which there are four or more people killed or wounded, not including the shooter.

"There have been more mass shootings than days in the year," Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said in Congress Tuesday. He represents the district where Sandy Hook elementary school, where 26 kids and teachers were killed in 2012, is located. It was the nation's worst ever school shooting.

There were 692 mass shootings in 2021, the most since 2014, when the Gun Violence Archive began keeping records.

RECORD HOMICIDES

In a country where firearms are easily bought and sold and laws vary by state, 2020 saw 19,350 shooting murders, a historic high, 35% more than in 2019 - and 24,245 suicides - 1.5% more than 2019, according to statistics compiled by US health authorities.

The homicide rate reached 6.1 per 100,000 residents in 2020, a 25-year record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a report published this month, though the toll was still not as high as the peak of the 1980s.

Officials speculated that the struggles of poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic could have contributed to the spike.

390 MILLION GUNS

The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the second amendment of the US Constitution, and the number of pistols, revolvers and other gun types has increased in recent years.

More than 23 million guns were sold in 2020, a record, and almost 20 million in 2021, according to numbers published by the site Small Arms Analytics.

According to another project called the Small Arms Survey, 393.3 million firearms were in circulation throughout the United States in 2020 - or about 120 guns for every 100 people.

And an unknown number of "ghost guns", sold piece by piece and without serial numbers, must be added to that count.

In June 2021, 30% of American adults said they owned at least one firearm, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.