U.S. Is Global Leader in Gun Violence and Ownership

The U.S. is a global leader in power, economy and -- guns.

Gun-related violence killed three people in the U.S. every two hours in 2015, according to data collected by the Global Health Data Exchange. Despite a rather steady decline in gun deaths in the past decade, firearms remain a significant issue for the country, evidenced this week by the shooting at a U.S. congressional baseball practice in Virginia and a separate shooting at a San Francisco package delivery store that left four people dead.

The death rate due to firearms in the U.S. is nearly double the global average, according to the Global Health Data Exchange. Research published in the American Journal of Medicine last year also found that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by firearms than people in other developed countries.

Among countries ranked by total gross domestic product, rate of death by firearm assaults in the U.S. was more than 10 times higher than the next four highest countries combined, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease. Those four countries are China, Japan, Germany and the U.K.

In addition to the physical and emotional tolls on a nation, there are measurable economic costs to such rampant gun violence.

A report by the United Nations Development Program's Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development estimates that the U.S. economy could grow its GDP per capita by about $80 if firearm-related homicides were minimized.

Led by El Salvador and Venezuela, gun violence is most prevalent in Latin America. But in terms of gun ownership, the U.S. is No. 1.

The U.S. has 88.8 guns per 100 people, according to the 2015 Small Arms Survey, an independent research project by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Switzerland.

In the midst of a devastating civil war, embattled Yemen ranks second on the list with 54.8 guns per 100 people.

Views of the general safety of the U.S. have worsened in the past year, too. In a global survey of more than 21,000 people in all regions of the world, the U.S. ranked No. 30 out of 80 countries in perceptions of safety, dropping 10 spots from its previous rank.

Deidre McPhillips is a data reporter at U.S. News. You can find her on Twitter or email her at dmcphillips@usnews.com.