The United States experiences epidemic levels of gun violence, claiming over 30,000 lives annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For every person who dies from a gunshot wound, two others are wounded. Every year, approximately 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence. In addition to those who are killed or injured, there are countless others whose lives are forever changed by the deaths of and injuries to their loved ones.
Gun violence touches every segment of our society. It increases the probability of deaths in incidents of domestic violence, raises the likelihood of fatalities by those who intend to injure others and among those who attempt suicide, places children and young people at special risk, and disproportionately affects communities of color.
Mass shooting tragedies like the school shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007 and Northern Illinois University in February 2008 – or the 1993 office shooting in San Francisco that led to the formation of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – receive significant media attention. However, gun deaths and injuries in the U.S. usually occur quietly, without national press coverage, every day.