Why Does DC Have a Gun Death Rate Like Brazil’s?

Last month, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, I argued that while permissive gun laws and mental health were contributing factors in American gun violence, the real cause of this problem probably had a lot more to do with the country’s inequitable distribution of wealth.

Yesterday, interestingly enough, Richard Florida over at The Atlantic provided this map of American gun violence, comparing the gun murders in American cities to nations around the world:


As Florida puts it, “the sad reality is that many American cities have rates of gun homicides comparable to the some of the most violent nations in the world.” Yes, and also the most economically stratified nations in the world.

Some American cities with the highest firearm death rates are Washington, D.C. (with a gun death rate comparable to Brazil), New Orleans (Honduras), Atlanta (South Africa), and Miami (Columbia).

Guess what else those cities have in common?

They’re among the American urban areas with the widest gap between rich and poor residents.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer