24 hours of guns in the U.S., visualized.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

With this 24-hour glimpse of live data, we’re hoping to give you another way to think about the statistics and debates around guns in the United States. We explored the same issues and stories in our new “Guns in America” series. Watch all six parts of that series here.
For the live data, you’re watching an average day — rather, an averaged day — of guns in the U.S. This isn’t an actual day. Some days see higher numbers than this. Others are lower. But at the end of this day, you’ll see the average number of people injured and killed in a single 24-hour period in the U.S. And you’ll see just how many guns are manufactured and how many background checks are initiated in this country over the course of an average day. 
Here’s what’s happening in this Facebook Live:

We took the latest available data for each of the categories:

  • People non-fatally injured
  • People killed
  • Guns manufactured
  • Background checks

Then, we figured out what those numbers would be for an average day by dividing the annual totals by 365 (or, in the case of background checks, by 366 because that figure is from a leap year).
We then divided that number by 24 to find the averages per hour, then by 60, and yet again by 60, to arrive at a pro-rated rate per second. And then we crunched some code and created a real-time visual for how these statistics would unfold over the course of 24 hours.

Here’s where we got our numbers:
The statistics on annual firearm fatalities and injuries are published by the CDC. In 2015, the CDC reported 36,252 fatalities from firearms. And in 2014, the most recent year for which the CDC has published figures, there were a reported 81,034 firearm-related, non-fatal injuries. You can dig deeper into these numbers here and here.
The number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. is tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Our annual total — 9,358,661 units manufactured — corresponds to published data from 2015. That’s counting guns manufactured for consumers and the police, and not for military use. Here’s the original document
What kinds of guns are we talking about here? Let’s break it down:

Dig into this data yourself right here

Finally, we’re including the number of background checks initiated on our counter. Why? This is one way to approximate, however roughly, how many times per day people signal their intent to purchase a gun. According to a recent study, most (but certainly not all) gun purchases in the U.S. take place following a background check. Meanwhile, note that in 2016, the FBI counted 27,538,673 background checks initiated across the country. That’s a little more than 75,242 background checks per day, taking into account that 2016 had 366 days.

To crunch these numbers and visualize it all over the course of one 24-hour period, we worked with Grafiti.

All of the figures you see unfolding on this Facebook Live are from the latest year for which data is available. 
We’ll let you get your deeper analysis on guns in the U.S. elsewhere. But here’s one trend we found startling:

Do you find these statistics surprising? Expected? A little of each? Let us know.

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