Most gun deaths do not involve armed conflicts

A few of the 875 million weapons available worldwide Keystone

Worldwide, the vast majority of people who die from armed violence each year are killed outside of wars and other major conflicts, an annual global survey of firearms revealed Tuesday.

This content was published on July 2, 2013 - 20:39
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The study, conducted by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, found that between 42 per cent and 60 per cent of lethal violence occurs with a firearm. Civilians hold about three-quarters of the approximately 875 million weapons worldwide.

According to the study, an average of 526,000 people died violently each year between 2004 and 2009. Ninety per cent of the armed violence did not involve international conflicts or civil wars.

Military-style small arms and light weapons such as revolvers, rifles and submachine guns, as well as commercial handguns and long guns, were included in the survey, which was sponsored by the Swiss foreign ministry and other governments.

The study also found that around 66,000 women are killed violently each year around the world – usually by a current or former partner. This is equivalent to 17 per cent of all intentional homicides.

"The risk is increased by the presence of guns in the home," said the survey's research director, Anna Alvazzi del Frate.

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