A gunshot wound (GSW) is physical trauma caused by a projectile from a firearm. Damage may include bleeding, broken bones, organ damage, infection of the wound, loss of the ability to move part of the body, and in more severe cases, death. Damage depends on the part of the body hit, the path the bullet follows through the body, and the type and speed of the bullet. Long-term complications can include lead poisoning and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Factors that determine rates of firearm violence vary by country. These factors may include the illegal drug trade, access to firearms, substance misuse including alcohol, mental health problems, firearm laws, and social and economic differences. Where guns are more common, altercations more often end in death.
Before management begins it should be verified the area is safe. This is followed by stopping major bleeding, then assessing and supporting the airway, breathing, and circulation. Firearm laws, particularly background checks and permit to purchase, decrease the risk of death from firearms. Safer firearm storage may decrease the risk of firearm-related deaths in children.
In 2015, about a million gunshot wounds occurred from interpersonal violence. In 2016, firearms resulted in 251,000 deaths globally, up from 209,000 in 1990. Of these deaths 161,000 (64%) were the result of assault, 67,500 (27%) were the result of suicide, and 23,000 (9%) were accidents. In the United States, guns resulted in about 40,000 deaths in 2017. Firearm-related deaths are most common in males between the ages of 20 to 24 years. Economic costs due to gunshot wounds have been estimated at US$140 billion a year in the United States.