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916788-6-20130110062949A new report of life expectancy in the world’s richest countries says that America’s guns are a major factor in its lower life expectancy. (Shutterstock)

Guns Driving Down Life Expectancy in America

Violence not more common in US, but is more deadly

By Mark Russell, Newser Staff

With six violent deaths per 100,000 people in the United States, by far the highest rate among the world’s richest countries, the prevalence of guns—especially unsecured guns—in America is lowering its life expectancy rate, according to a new report by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. The report looked at 17 of the world’s richest countries, exploring why the United States has the lowest life expectancy for men (75.6) and second-lowest for women (80.7). The results point strongly at America’s uniquely widespread gun culture, reports the AP.

Incidents of violence in the United States are not more frequent than other countries, noted the report, but they are far more lethal—the next-most deadly country, Finland, has less than two violent deaths for 100,000. Despite having less than 5% of the world’s population, Americans account for 35% to 50% of the world’s civilian-owned firearms, with 89 firearms for every 100 Americans. “With lives and dollars at stake, the United States cannot afford to ignore this problem,” the report said. The report also pointed to America’s high rate of poverty and low rate of health insurance coverage.

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