In 2016,an average of 106 individuals died per day from firearm related deaths.

In 2016, 38,658 died from gun violence.

Of these deaths, 22,938 were suicides 14,415 were homicides

The Issue

Our government has allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis.

Across the United States, gunshots are fired every day. Lives are lost or forever changed in a matter of moments. Over 106 people die a day from gun violence. In 2016, more than 38,000 people were killed by a firearm.

Simply put, insufficient laws and unfettered access to guns are jeopardizing our right to live and to feel safe.

You have the right to go about your daily life in security, free from fear. You have the right to be free from discrimination, including from disproportionate rates of violence. And most fundamentally: You have the right to live.

No one’s rights can be considered secure as long as our leaders fail to do anything about gun violence. That’s where we come in.

With this report and campaign, we aim to offer steps that can be taken to fulfill human rights obligations and prevent violations, support life-saving solutions, amplify the voices of impacted communities who have been doing this work for decades, and drive a national dialogue using the framework of universally recognized human rights.

Join us.

The Research

The problem

The sheer volume of people killed or injured each year in the USA by gunfire is staggering. In 2016, 38,658 people died as a result of gun violence, and over 116,000 more people suffered non-fatal injuries. Per capita, this is significantly higher than in other industrialized countries. This is a human rights crisis.

Human Rights Issue

The USA has either signed or ratified international human rights conventions that guarantee human rights which are undermined by gun violence and gun-related injuries and deaths. The USA, therefore, has a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights set out in these treaties and to exercise due diligence by taking measures to combat actual or foreseeable threats to these rights.
Human rights at stake include the right to life, the right to security of the person, the right to be free from discrimination, and economic, social and cultural rights. States have to act with due diligence to prevent violations of the right to life (and other rights).
Vegas shooting
Broadly, States’ responsibilities to prevent and protect against firearms violence require two interrelated approaches:
  1. restricting access to firearms by those most at risk of abusing them; and
  2. taking effective steps to put in place and implement violence reduction or protection measures where firearms abuse persists.
In the context of firearms, this obligation also includes reducing and preventing violent acts against individuals and communities, addressing discriminatory violence, violence against children, gender-based violence, and the use of firearms in suicides, and unintentional and accidental deaths.
The USA is obliged to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate and redress harm caused by private individuals and they should pay particular attention to those most at risk, be they individuals or marginalized communities.
A critical assessment and analysis of laws, policies, existing research, and incidents of gun violence, has revealed that the USA is simply not satisfying its obligations to protect and promote the right to life, the right to security of person, and other human rights.

How the USA is Failing - Policy failures

The USA has both the highest absolute and highest per capita rates of gun ownership in the world, and yet, there remains a lack of gun safety laws and regulations across the USA.
The USA has failed to enact comprehensive laws related to background checks, training, licensing, and registration, reporting of lost and stolen firearms, regulation of assault rifles, the carrying of firearms in public, and the use of firearms for self-defense. The USA has not adequately addressed the impact of firearm violence on public health and has failed to invest in research on the impact of firearms in the USA to inform effective policy solutions.
The right to live free from violence, discrimination and fear has been superseded by a sense of entitlement to own a practically unlimited array of deadly weapons, without sufficient regulations on the acquisition, possession and use. In the face of clear evidence of persistent gun violence, high rates of gun ownership, and ease of access to firearms by individuals likely to misuse them, the USA is failing to meet its obligation to protect and promote human rights pursuant to international law.
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Who the USA is failing - Impacted Groups

The USA has both the highest absolute and highest per capita rates of gun ownership in the world, and yet, there remains a lack of gun safety laws and regulations across the USA. The USA has failed to enact comprehensive laws related to background checks, training, licensing, and registration, reporting of lost and stolen firearms, regulation of assault rifles, the carrying of firearms in public, and the use of firearms for self-defense. The USA has not adequately addressed the impact of firearm violence on public health and has failed to invest in research on the impact of firearms in the USA to inform effective policy solutions. The right to live free from violence, discrimination and fear has been superseded by a sense of entitlement to own a practically unlimited array of deadly weapons, without sufficient regulations on the acquisition, possession and use. In the face of clear evidence of persistent gun violence, high rates of gun ownership, and ease of access to firearms by individuals likely to misuse them, the USA is failing to meet its obligation to protect and promote human rights pursuant to international law.

Conclusion

Amnesty International is calling for change. We have developed a framework and criteria, based on obligations under international human rights law, through which the USA and other countries and states can comply with their duties to protect human rights being impacted by gun violence. To comply with its obligations under international human rights law, the USA should introduce and strengthen gun laws and policies nationwide and should implement adequately funded evidence-based community-involved violence reduction and prevention programs.
All of these efforts should be aimed at prohibiting the possession of firearms by individuals who represent a high level of risk to public safety and protecting individuals and communities most at risk of being victims of gun violence.

The Campaign

CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU.



HOST A COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

Whether you’re a student, teacher or community member, you can start by talking with each other about what is going on in your community. This is one of the best ways to start organizing and connect with others who also want to act.

Email gunviolence @aiusa.org to host a discussion near you.


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TOGETHER, WE CAN #ENDGUNVIOLENCE.

Want to do even more? Check out our complete End Gun Violence toolkit.

If you have questions or ideas for how to #EndGunViolence in your community, contact us at gunviolence @aiusa.org.