Bruen Dissent and Gun Control (Part 3)

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Supreme Court - Gun RightsJustice Breyer continued: Unsurprisingly, the United States also suffers a disproportionately high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. Cf. Brief for Educational Fund To Stop Gun Violence et al. as Amici Curiae 17–18 (Brief for Educational Fund) (citing studies showing that, within the United States, “states that rank among the highest in gun ownership also rank among the highest in gun deaths” while “states with lower rates of gun ownership have lower rates of gun deaths”).

In 2015, approximately 36,000 people were killed by firearms nationwide. M. Siegel et al., Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States, 107 Am. J. Pub. Health 1923 (2017). Of those deaths, 22,018 (or about 61%) were suicides, 13,463 (37%) were homicides, and 489 (1%) were unintentional injuries. Ibid. On top of that, firearms caused an average of 85,694 emergency room visits for nonfatal injuries each year between 2009 and 2017. E. Kaufman et al., Epidemiological Trends in Fatal and Nonfatal Firearm Injuries in the US, 2009–2017, 181 JAMA Internal Medicine 237 (2021) (Kaufman).

Worse yet, gun violence appears to be on the rise. By 2020, the number of firearm-related deaths had risen to 45,222, CDC, Fast Facts, or by about 25% since 2015. That means that, in 2020, an average of about 124 people died from gun violence every day. Ibid. As I mentioned above, gun violence has now become the leading cause of death in children and adolescents, surpassing car crashes, which had previously been the leading cause of death in that age group for over 60 years. Goldstick 1955; J. Bates, Guns Became the Leading Cause of Death for American Children and Teens in 2020, Time, Apr. 27, 2022, https://www. And the consequences of gun violence are borne disproportionately by communities of color, and Black communities in particular. See CDC, Age-Adjusted Rates of Firearm-Related Homicide, by Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex—National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2019, at 1491 (Oct. 22, 2021), mm7042a6-H.pdf (documenting 34.9 firearm-related homicides per 100,000 population for non-Hispanic Black men in 2019, compared to 7.7 such homicides per 100,000 population for men of all races); S. Kegler et al., CDC, Vital Signs: Changes in Firearm Homicide and Suicide Rates—United States, 2019–2020, at 656–658 (May 13, 2022), https://

The dissent itself recognizes an often-cited and misleading statistic regarding gun violence: the suicide rate. Most gun-related deaths involve suicides. While this statistic is very sad, it does not support a justification for limiting gun rights out of concern for a direct threat that gun possessors present to others.