Nearly 43,000 people in US died from gun violence in 2023

Almost 19,000 deaths from homicide, nearly 1,700 victims were children, teens

Darren Lyn  | 02.01.2024 - Update : 03.01.2024
Nearly 43,000 people in US died from gun violence in 2023 A view from the scene of a mass shooting incident at the 800 block of Gretna Court in Baltimore, Maryland, United States on July 2, 2023.- Photo: Kyle Mazza - Anadolu Agency


A constant and deadly rash of gun violence in the US left nearly 43,000 people dead in 2023, with 654 mass shootings casting a dark shadow over this seemingly never-ending problem plaguing America.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks gun violence deaths and their causes in the United States, 42,888 Americans died in gun-related deaths as of Dec. 31. That averages out to about 117 deaths every day.

Nearly 1,700 of the victims were children and teens, with 1,381 between the ages of 12 and 17 dying at the hands of gun violence, in addition to 295 children ranging from babies to 11-year-olds dying from gunfire.

The deadliest shooting of 2023 took place in Lewiston, Maine on Oct. 25 when a gunman opened fire with a high-powered sniper rifle in a bowling alley and local bar, killing 18 people and wounding 13 others. After an intense two-day manhunt, police found the gunman deceased at a nearby recycling plant, where he had committed suicide.

The Maine massacre was one of the deadliest US mass shootings in recent decades, prompting President Joe Biden to push Congress to pass stricter gun laws.

"Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers," said Biden after the deadly rampage. "This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars, physical and mental, of this latest attack."

Biden's plea for tougher gun reforms came just over a month after announcing the country's first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention to tackle the epidemic of senseless shooting deaths in the US.

"Shootings are the ultimate super storm ripping through communities," the president said in September. "Guns are the number one killer of children in America, more than car accidents, more than cancer, more than other diseases."

Biden emphasized that the goal of the new office, headed by Vice President Kamala Harris, was to crack down on ghost guns, break up gun trafficking rings, create universal background checks and require safe storage of firearms. He said that adding an assault weapons ban would also help reduce gun violence.

"None of these steps alone is going to solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic. None of them. But together, they will save lives," said Biden.

Deadliest shootings

The Maine shooting was the deadliest of 2023, but there were several other deadly high-profile mass shootings that devastated communities across the country.

On Jan. 21, a gunman opened fire at a Chinese New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and injuring nine others. Police tracked down the suspect in a van, where he committed suicide in the aftermath of the rampage.

Hundreds of shoppers at an outlet mall in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas fled for their lives on May 6 after a gunman went on a shooting spree, killing eight and injuring seven others. The suspect was shot and killed by a police officer during a shootout at the scene.

A domestic disturbance in the city of Enoch, Utah turned deadly on Jan. 4, when a man killed seven family members, including his wife, five children and mother-in-law before turning the gun on himself. Police said the suspect had been investigated for domestic abuse and that his wife had just filed for divorce two weeks before the killings.

And on March 27, a transgender person went on a shooting rampage at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee, killing six people -- three students and three adults. The suspect, who was a former student at the school, was shot and killed by two police officers at the scene.

While mass shootings and violent gun deaths like these have made headlines, those fatalities make up less than half of the total with 18,798 deaths. The silent majority of deaths have come from suicide, with 24,090 Americans taking their own lives, which averages out to about 66 people committing suicide on a daily basis.

States where gun violence occurs the most

The numbers show that 1,438 people were killed in police officer-involved shootings in 2023, while 50 police officers were gunned down in the line of duty.

There have also been 1,563 unintentional shootings and 673 murder-suicide incidents.

The majority of gun violence deaths in the US have taken place in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois and California.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, at least 38,000 Americans have died from gun violence every year since 2016, with those numbers surpassing 43,000 in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

And with the 2023 gun violence death toll pushing just short of 43,000, the trend of those elevated numbers does not bode well as 2024 is set to begin.

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