The Problem with Averages in Understanding Guns, Violence, and Crime (Take 2)

Gun Culture 2.0

When I tell my more liberal friends I am studying “gun culture,” they frequently hear me saying “gun violence,” since their primary association with guns is with violence. Although my interest in guns is actually in the culture that surrounds it rather than violence, I still spend a few days on “gun violence” — firearm-related injury and death — in my Sociology of Guns seminar every semester.

An article we are reading this week – “Firearm Injuries in the United States,” published by 4 authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is interesting to note – shows that the firearm homicide rate in the United States was 3.66 per 100,000 from 2010-2012.

Source: Fowler, et al., “Firearm Injuries in the United States,” Preventive Medicine, 2015, p. 10. Note: APC = Annual Percentage Change

Taking an aggregate statistic like this, we often hear about how much higher…

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