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Gun deaths: Does the U.S. lead the world? PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at the numbers

Posted at 6:58 PM, Sep 22, 2021

Is gun violence a national public health crisis? It's a question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to answer.

That prompted a local lawmaker to make a claim about gun deaths that caught the attention of PolitiFact Wisconsin.

Just about every day Milwaukee sees the stark reality of gun deaths. It's a problem not limited to the city, state or country.

"We know the United States has a lot of guns," said Greg Borowski with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "But does it have far and away the most gun deaths in the entire world?"

That was the claim by State Senator Melissa Agard, a Madison Democrat.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says a report by the World Population Review in 2021 showed the United States ranked high in raw numbers, but not at the top.

"The United States comes in second behind Brazil when you look at simply the total number of gun deaths," said Borowski.

PolitiFact Wisconsin then looked at gun deaths as a proportion of the population and a study done by the University of Washington.

"By that measure it's actually much further off," said Borowski. "The U.S. ranks 32nd in the world when you look at proportion of gun deaths to the population."

PolitiFact Wisconsin did one more deep dive and looked at just gun homicides in larger, more developed countries. By that narrow measure, the U.S. came out on top.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Senator Agard's claim Mostly False.

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