CNN reports

At least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the country during the Fourth of July weekend

Ref: CNN.com

In the article this data is based on data from 'Gun Violence Archive'. (gunviolencearchive.org) I was unable to verify the reliability of this source, thus I am skeptical.

Did approximately 150 die in the US from gun violence during the 4th of July weekend 2021?

  • 35
    GVA explains their methodology and sources, and links back to every single incident they listed and tallied. You might want to explain a bit more clearly why you're still skeptical, and what kind of information would satisfy you. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 5:45
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    @Shadur I tried to check sources and first said: "This site is currently unavailable to visitors from the European Economic Area while we work to ensure your data is protected in accordance with applicable EU laws."
    – pinegulf
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 6:11
  • 2
    NPR is reporting that more than 180 people were killed: npr.org/2021/07/06/1013251202/… Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 22:06
  • 2
    These figures usually include suicide by gun which needs to be excluded if one is only considering homicide as the percentage is rather high.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 9:43
  • Is the question purely "Did ~150 people die from wounds inflicted by a gun over the 4th of July weekend?" or is it more particularly about this number in comparison to other weekends? Or perhaps, as @NigelJ implies, are you bringing distinction of how they died. You only say "I am skeptical", not what is it you're skeptical about. Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


Update (7/6/21): Within 12 hours of my writing this answer, CNN has edited their article. The original claim can be seen here. CNN now acknowledges "a 26% drop [presumably in deaths] from last year's holiday weekend." The tone of their article has slightly changed and CNN has stopped portraying the deaths over the 4th of July weekend as part of "a surge in violent crime," while continuing to report on a larger trend in violent crime.

Were at least 150 people killed by gun violence from July 2 to July 4?

At least 150 people were killed by firearms from July 2 to July 4. (Suicides and unintentional deaths are included in the 150 death figure.1)

Based on CDC firearm mortality figures for 2019, 150 deaths from firearms over a 3 day period is not unusual. Furthermore, I verified the sources for 150 deaths recorded on the Gun Violence Archive as occurring between July 2 and July 4, inclusive.

CNN writes (the sentence quoted in the question is not complete):

At least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the country during the Fourth of July weekend as major cities nationwide confront a surge in violent crime, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.

The data, which includes the number of shooting incidents and gun violence victims nationally over a 72-hour period from Friday through Sunday, is still evolving and will be updated.

Therefore, this means July 2, July 3, and July 4.

Per the CDC, in 2019, there were 39,707 people in the US killed by firearms. That's approximately 108.8 deaths per day. If the number of deaths each day is about the same, 150 deaths over 3 days is not too unreasonable (and is actually lower than expected).

CNN cites the Gun Violence Archive. They track the number of gun deaths and include a link to a source for every incident. As of my writing this answer, the Gun Violence Archive has recorded 235 incidents resulting in a gun death from July 2 to July 4, inclusive, that have collectively resulted in a total of 258 deaths. For the sake of providing a comprehensive answer, I looked through the sources for the first 150 deaths (working backwards from the last entry on July 4) and confirmed that they are all legitimate. To be clear, some of the deaths recorded, such as this one are from accidental shootings, so not all the deaths reflected in the figure are murders.1

The first source listed, which @pinegulf has problems accessing, writes:

Two Men Dead and a Third Man in Custody in Fourth of July Shooting in Pontiac

By B. Thompson

JUL 4, 2021

PONTIAC, MI – Two men were shot to death outside a Pontiac residence shortly after 1 p.m. today and the man Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies believe is responsible for the shooting is in custody.

The victims, ages 29 and 30 and Pontiac residents, were found on the lawn of a residence in the 500 block of Valencia Drive. Deputies were sent to the residence at 1:11 p.m. on the report of multiple shots fired. The suspect, a 21-year-old Pontiac man, is being held in the Oakland County Jail.

1 I have not found a government definition of "gun violence." This document from the US Department of Justice writes:

Violence is the “intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation” (OJJDP 2014, 14). Applying this definition to the scope of this literature review, youth gun violence is when a gun or firearm is present in the process of a youth (ages 10–24) intentionally using force or power to threaten or harm others.

If that definition of gun violence is correct, then strictly speaking, the claim is incorrect.

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    Are suicides counted in these deaths by gun ? If yes, how many are there ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 8:12
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    @Evargalo Pretty sure they're counting suicides, but according to their site: "Suicides are collected through the CDC and, because of privacy and CDC policy, they are only available at this time as an aggregate number, without detail. Therefore, there is not an associated table with our normal GVA level of granularity and geolocation. We are working to resolve this but it will be at some point in the future and not under our control. Sorry for this inconvenience."
    – nick012000
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 14:39
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    The fact that this article got published when the number of deaths was actually 50% of the statistical average, highlights the ability of the media to influence public perception of crime by choosing how to report it. In this case increasing reporting on crime to make it look like a crime wave. I remember a nearly identical example in the first chapter of the textbook in a media production class I took like 20 years ago.
    – user4574
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 15:19
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    @Evargalo Suicides are counted both in the GVA numbers and the CDC numbers. Thanks to nick012000 for your comment answering this question for the GVA numbers. For the CDC numbers, this CDC page lists the different types of firearm deaths, including "Intentionally self-inflicted" (which the CDC then goes on to explicitly say includes suicides). Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 18:21
  • Please put comments that are not about improving the answer in this chat..
    – user11643
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 4:41


'Gun Violence Archive' has discredited themselves by padding the numbers.

They include defense, suicide, and accidental deaths like this one in their list of "violent" deaths. It can be argued that these are not violence. While one can define 'gun violence' to include these as the GVA does, much of the audience will interpret violence as implied in 'violent crime'. So no, the 'Gun Violence Archive' is manipulating perception.

Suicides account for approximately 60% of total gun deaths each year while accidental deaths from firearms are estimated by researchers to occur at a rate of slightly more than 1 per day. When these statistics are used as an allusion to deaths caused by violent conflict, the figures are off by at least 167% (1/0.60) of the actual value.

  • 6
    You bring up a good point (that accidents are included [perhaps suicides are also]), but give no evidence of the quantity of accidents. Readers are left to assume the gravity of this fact, which will likely be colored by biases. Please improve this answer accordingly or we'll have to delete it for quality reasons.
    – user11643
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 4:28
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    It is clear from the comments that the definition of violence varies between readers. However, a claim is not wrong just because you prefer a different definition than with the (clearly stated) definitions the claimant used. If you want to argue (with references) the claim is true, but misleading to some readers, that would make a good answer, but currently this is purely subjective. Note: Your current reference currently doesn't support your argument.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 8:57
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    I've suggested an edit. If someone could find a study of people's connotation of 'gun violence' and ammend "much of the audience" with a value and link it would be appreciated.
    – user53816
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 19:35
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    Stats about gun violence and gun-related deaths in the US almost always include suicides; reporting numbers that don’t include suicides without explicitly saying so would be confusing to most readers.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jul 10, 2021 at 21:54
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    @Caleb - Per the provided definition, violence requires intent. As I stated previously "intent is much more difficult to filter for" -- requiring knowledge of the thoughts of those involved. Intent would reject defensive use. The term gun violence sparks controversy because it implies violent crime. The population which does not intuit suicide and/or defense from gun violence is significant. Why reject the less controversial term gun related? This is relevant because this answer focuses on the connotation of the claim.
    – user53816
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 15:41

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