India third highest in gun-related deaths, firearm mortality rate "beats" China, Pakistan, Bangladesh: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A just released study has found that India has the distinction of having the third highest number of gun-related deaths out of 195 countries surveyed. Published by the American Medical Association, the study, released on August 28, shows that a total of 26,500 firearm-related deaths took place in India in 2016. Brazil tops the list with 43,200 deaths, followed by United States 37,200.
No doubt, India being the second most populated country in the world, it's firearm-related mortality rate per 100,000 is just 2.1 as against the Brazil's 18.4 per 100,000, and the United States' 10.6 per 100,000. However, interestingly, the firearm-related mortality rate per 100,000 in China, which is the most populous country in the world, is just 0.2, with absolute number of firearm deaths estimated at 2,910 in 2016.
Titled "Global Mortality From Firearms, 1990-2016", authored by Dr Mohsen Naghavi of the Global Health Department, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation  University of Washington, Seattle, the study also finds that the firearms morality rate is the highest in India as compared to all its neighbours. Thus, it is 1.1 per 100,000 in Bangladesh, 1.0 in Bhutan, 1.9 in Sri Lanka, 0.2 in China, 1.3 in Nepal, 1.1 in Myanmar, 1.5 in Pakistan, and 1.9 in Sri Lanka.
Interestingly, India and Pakistan are the only two countries among India's neighbours with witnessed an increase in the absolute number of firearm related deaths. In India, the absolute number of firearm deaths were 22,500 in 1990, which went up to 26,500 in 2016. As for Pakistan, it's absolute firearm deaths increased from 1,430 to 2,780.
Basing itself on what it calls "a combination of deidentified aggregated data from vital registration, verbal autopsy, census and survey data, and police records in models for 195 countries and territories", the study estimates that "251,000 people died globally from firearm injuries in 2016, compared with 209,000 deaths in 1990".
It adds, however, that "there was an annualized decrease of 0.9% in the global rate of age-standardized firearm deaths from 1990 to 2016."
The study says, "Although public attention is frequently focused on firearm homicide, firearm suicides represent the greater fraction of firearm mortality in some locations", but insists, "Access to firearms is a necessary precondition for firearm injury to occur."
Claiming to be the the first study of its kind, the author says, "The strength of the relationship between access to firearms and variation in levels of firearm violence has not been previously evaluated at the level used in this study."
The study takes into account, broadly, three types of data while analysing firearms morality -- physical violence by firearm, self-harm by firearm, and unintentional firearm injuries. An analysis by Laura Santhanam in PBS News Hour of its data shows that "half of all gun-related deaths in 2016 occurred in six nations -- Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala. Together, these countries hold less than 10 percent of the world’s population."
The expert analysis further says that "overall, 64 percent of deaths were determined to be homicides, while an additional 27 percent were suicides and 9 percent were accidental shootings."


Tanushree Gangopadhyay said…
Not surprising!! Gunrunning is ancient old.Much of it comes in through the US.
Urvashi Devi said…
I am surprised . Since it is not easy to get a licence? Didn't realise So many own guns . Mainly the upper class; and I presume that's where the suicide occur .