Accidental Shooting Statistics: A Review of Unintentional Firearm Deaths From 1979-2024

The pro-gun community has put a lot of time and effort into preventing accidental shootings in America. Unlike other firearm-related incidents, accidental shootings are a category that the pro-gun community has notably influenced over the years.

Despite sensationalized headlines and ongoing advocacy for new legislation, it’s crucial to recognize that accidental shootings are exceedingly rare occurrences. Even in households with unsecured firearms and children, such tragedies are infrequent.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that these accidents are entirely preventable. The following sections delve into various aspects of accidental shootings in the United States.

Key Points:

  • In 2022, less than 1% (461) of the 48,222 firearm deaths in the U.S. were attributed to accidental shootings.
  • 2.3% of the 30,303 unintentional firearm-related injuries were fatal in 2021.
  • Of the 231,878 firearm-related offenses reported to the FBI in 2022, only 721 were accidental shootings (0.3%).
  • There is no correlation between permitless carry and accidental shootings; only four of the five top states for accidental shootings and all five of the bottom states have permitless carry.
  • Only 0.2% of all accidental injury-related deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to firearms.

Note: 30,303 injuries include any hospital visit involving a firearm injury.

Accidental Gunshots Per Year

In total, 673 individuals in the U.S. were victims of an accidental shooting in 2022. Accidental shootings occur in 0.001% of all American households with a firearm annually.

Contrary to claims by Everytown and Giffords, simply owning a firearm does not significantly elevate the risk of danger. In reality, the likelihood of dying from other causes such as fire, drowning, poisoning, falls, or motor vehicle accidents far exceeds that of accidental firearm-related deaths.

Gun Laws and Accidental Shootings

Whenever a tragedy occurs, the anti-gun lobby, media, and many politicians exploit it. Despite an estimated 113,000,000 firearm owners in America, the 673 accidental shooting deaths have spurred discussions about new legislation.

Examining states with existing legislation like safe storage laws and concerns about permitless carry provides insights into the impact of such laws on accidental shootings.

Safe Storage Laws

With limited safe storage legislation in the U.S., accidental shooting deaths declined by 40% between 1999 and 2023. This decline underscores the effectiveness of firearm safety initiatives primarily driven by the pro-2A community.

As of 2024, 26 states have safe storage laws. For instance, in Texas, it constitutes a prosecutable offense if a child gains access to an unsecured firearm. Notably, Texas recorded 61 accidental shooting deaths among individuals aged 1-17 between 2018 and 2023.

Expanding this data reveals that 30% of all accidental firearm-related deaths in this age group occurred in states with existing safe storage laws, whereas nine states without such laws had no accidental shootings involving children during the same period.

Permitless Carry

Another contentious issue for the anti-gun lobby is permitless carry legislation. However, such legislation does not ease firearm access; rather, it allows lawful individuals to carry firearms without a permit.

Analyzing data from states before and after enacting permitless carry laws reveals no significant correlation with unintentional shootings. For instance:

Indiana, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, which passed permitless carry between 2019 and 2021, had accidental shooting deaths, while the other four states (Iowa, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming) that enacted permitless carry had none.

In Indiana, there was no notable change in accidental shooting deaths after passing permitless carry in 2021.

Kentucky and Oklahoma also did not experience significant fluctuations in accidental shooting deaths following the implementation of permitless carry laws.

Ultimately, permitless carry legislation neither exacerbates nor alleviates accidental shooting incidents. Firearm safety is primarily an individual responsibility that cannot be regulated effectively.

Accidental Shootings: The Full Picture

Though 2.3% of accidental shootings are fatal, only 0.0001% of all firearms in the U.S. are involved in such incidents, affecting just 0.05% of all households with firearms.

Understanding the causes of accidental shootings is crucial. Regardless of firearm ownership or Second Amendment stance, familiarizing oneself and one’s family with firearm safety principles is imperative.

Common causes of accidental shootings include:

urther analysis reveals that a significant portion of unintentional firearm deaths result from mishandling firearms or hunting-related accidents.

From 2005 to 2015, research indicates that 28.3% of unintentional firearm deaths happened when individuals were handling firearms casually. Additionally, 17.2% of deaths resulted from not confirming the firearm was unloaded, while 13.8% of victims were engaged in hunting-related incidents. [Unintentional Firearm Deaths in the United States: 2005-2015]

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I’d be curious to see that broke down to how these occurred, for instance, gun ranges take a lot of precautions, any there?

In other words I’d bet a heavy balance to irresponsible handling and neglect.

I’ve had two “accidental” discharges, one was not being sure a weapon was clear, irresponsible handling, and the other was a dirty weapon, old break action 12ga went off when closing it, found the firing pin was immobile and extended, maintenance neglect.

So education and training would go a long way to correct those, learning what not to do and training yourself to stick to what you learned.

@Ammodotcom you have one typo (that I noticed)



Not sure how the 673 figure breaks down – I’ll have to ask the author for her source! Thanks for catching our typo, too!