The surprising way gun violence is dividing America

The surprising way gun violence is dividing America

Gun enthusiasts inspect FN Herstal handguns during the annual National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas in May. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson) On average, there are 276 gun homicides a week in America. There are 439 gun suicides. All told, there are, on average, nearly 1,200 incidents involving gun violence, every week, in America. But this landscape of gun violence — suicides, homicides, mass shootings, accidents — is not evenly distributed. Instead, it plays out over geographic and political dividing lines — and these may help explain why individual Americans see the issue so differently. To better understand how the geography of gun violence may affect how Americans think about the issue, The Washington Post analyzed data on gun deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for every county from 2007 and 2016 and the nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive from 2016 to present. (Our full methodology is explained at the bottom of this post.) A distinct pattern emerged: In Democratic regions of the country, which tend to be cities, people are more likely to be murdered with a gun than they are to shoot themselves to death. And in regions of the country won by Republican, which tend to be rural areas and small towns, the opposite is true — people are more likely to shoot themselves to death than they are to be murdered with a gun. This pattern, explored in more detail in the graphic below, could partially explain differing partisan views on the issue of gun […]

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