Recent mass shootings in Gilroy, CA, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have called attention to the work done by the Gun Violence Archive, which was formed in 2013 as a not for profit corporation in order “to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States.” The organization maintains an up-to-date database of gun violence and gun crimes of all types, compiled from over 6,500 sources daily, including local and state police, media and government reports. The organization validates each incident that they collect from their sources, through both initial research and a secondary validation process.
The organization compiles data in several different formats, when visiting their website the first thing that visitors will see is the “Summary Ledger,” which is titled with “Gun Violence Archive 2019” and includes a real-time summary of the most requested data from the database. Users can click on the different categories in the Summary Ledger to view the raw source materials that are reflected in the accumulated numbers – each category has a corresponding list of specific incident reports (i.e. Total Incidents, Gun Deaths, Officers Shot or Killed). From the list of incident reports, users can select “View Incident” to see the organization’s summary of the incident or “View Source” for how the organization learned about the incident.
In addition, the Gun Violence Archive has also mapped out several different types of gun crimes, including Home Invasions, Unintentional Shootings, Defensive Use, Children Killed or Injured and Mass Shootings, so users can see how these crimes are distributed geographically around the country.
The goal of the Gun Violence Archive is to “provide the best, most detailed, accessible data on the subject to add clarity to the ongoing discussion on gun violence, gun rights, and gun regulations.” The organization understands the importance of up-to-date information to help inform the public about an issue that has been contentious and fraught.