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Gun Violence in Pennsylvania

Updated on April 23, 2013

I received an email regarding Pennsylvania gun facts I would like to share.

From 2001 through 2010 there were 12,941 gun deaths in Pennsylvania – the fourth-most gun deaths of all 50 states.

In 2010 there were 1,307 gun deaths in Pennsylvania, or roughly one every seven hours.

Every two days, three people are murdered by guns in Pennsylvania.

There were 501 gun homicides in the state in 2010. Coincidentally there are 501 school districts in Pennsylvania.

From 2001 through 2010, 5,061 people were murdered by guns in Pennsylvania. That number is as many as all U.S. combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

In 2010 Pennsylvania had the fifth-highest rate of gun homicides among children and teens age 19 and under in the country. Almost three of every 100.000 children and teens in the state were murdered by guns.

With 132 total deaths of children and teens from guns – more than 4 for every 100,000 residents – Pennsylvania had the tenth-highest rate of gun deaths for children and teens age 19 and under.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Pennsylvania 24 out of 100 possible points on their 2011 scorecard.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Pennsylvania a “C” for the strength of its gun laws.

As of October 2011 Pennsylvania’s rate of submitting mental health records to the federal database is nonexistent: The state has submitted exactly one mental health record. These records are used in background checks to deny dangerous people from getting guns.

In 2009, 1,777 guns that had been sold in Pennsylvania were recovered in crimes in other states. Pennsylvania is also a net exporter of crime guns, exporting 635 more guns than it imports.

Over the last 10 years, the NRA has donated $305,650 to federal candidates from Pennsylvania.

Of the 20 federal officeholders in Pennsylvania, 15 received an “A” from the NRA, one received a “B+” and four. all Democrats, received “F’s.”

In a January 30 poll by Quinnipiac University, 95 percent of residents supported “requiring background checks for all gun buyers,” while only 5 percent opposed. Among respondents in gun-owning households, 95 percent supported universal background checks.

No universal background checks allow criminals easy access to guns: In 2011 troubled 30-year-old John Schick attempted to purchase a gun in Portland, Oregon, but failed the background check because he had been committed to a mental institution there. But four months later he was able to purchase two handguns from a private seller in New Mexico without a background check – guns he would then use to kill or wound six people at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic near Pittsburgh before he was fatally shot by police.

Assault weapons are used to kill, and kill quickly: In April 2009 Richard Poplawski murdered three Pittsburgh police officers and wound two other officers as they were responding to a domestic violence call at the home Poplawski shared with his grandmother. One of the guns used by Poplawski was an AK-47 assault weapon. Poplawski was not a prohibited purchaser. He had an order of protection against him in 2005 but it expired 18 months later before he purchased the weapons used against the police officers.

Any factual questions regarding the above:

I’m from Pennsylvania and this startled me. You hear a lot of talk regarding the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is part of a document that starts with the words “We the People.” Maybe it’s time for “We the People” to take the issue out of the court of the politicians and the lobbyists and have an honest discussion about what’s going on in this country with guns and violence.

One last note: There are almost exactly as many federally licensed gun dealers in the United States (58,344) as there are post offices (31,509), McDonalds (14,098), and Starbucks (13,123). I find that amazing.


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    • Neall profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Philadelphia

      Tom: I don't know the answer to your question but you should be able to find out at I'm not sure that where the deaths occurred is really that relevant; there are too many gun deaths and it seems as if they can happen anywhere. I'm sure you'll recall the 2006 school shooting in the one-room schoolhouse in Nickel Mines. Ten girls between six and thirteen were shot and five died. Today a five year old shot his younger sister with a gun he received for his birthday. That happened in a rural area of Kentucky. Gun violence is an issue that permeates all segments of American society and at some point folks are going to need to relax the rhetoric and address the issue.

      Anyway, I hear what you're saying about the numbers. If you have any question about them at all send an email to American Progress.

    • Tom Herren profile image

      Tom Herren 

      5 years ago from New Oxford, Pennsylvania

      How many of these 12k+ deaths occured in Philidelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York and other large cities in Pa


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