Gun violence may be broadly defined as a category of violence and crime committed with the use of a firearm; it may or may not include actions ruled as self-defense, actions for law enforcement, or the safe lawful use of firearms for sport, hunting, and target practice. Gun violence encompasses intentional crime characterized as homicide (although not all homicide is automatically a crime) and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as unintentional injury and death resulting from the misuse of firearms, sometimes by children and adolescents. Gun violence statistics also may include self-inflicted gunshot wounds (both suicide, attempted suicide and suicide/homicide combinations sometimes seen within families). Not included in this subject are statistics regarding military or para-military activities, the information applies to the actions of civilians.
The phrase “gun crime” is consistently used by both gun-control and gun-rights policy advocates, with differing emphases: the former group advocates reducing gun violence by enacting and enforcing regulations on guns, gun owners, and the gun industry, while the latter group advocates education on how to be a responsible gun owner.
Levels of gun violence vary greatly across the world, with very high rates in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica, as well as high levels in Russia, The Philippines, Thailand, and some other underdeveloped countries. Levels of gun violence are very low in Singapore and Japan, and are low in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and many other countries. The United States has the highest rate of gun related injuries (not deaths per capita) among developed countries, though it also has the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of officers.