For Release: Thursday, August 21, 1997
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Who Dies? An Overview of Firearms Injury and Death in America. The 24-page, semi-annual report offers a demographic breakdown of the latest trends in firearm-related injuries and deaths in the U.S. as well as an examination of the rising economic burden placed on trauma care systems that treat victims of firearms violence. The report is designed to be used by the press, policymakers, and the general public for user-friendly access to the most pertinent statistics on gun violence in America.
Using federal mortality data and medical journal research, Who Dies? consolidates information on firearm-related homicide, suicide, unintentional shootings, and nonfatal firearm injuries by sex, age, and race; identifies firearms violence trends over time; and, extrapolates the most relevant statistics for public use. For example, contrary to popular perception, most gun death in America is not crime related. Most firearm deaths in America stem not from homicide (15,835 reported to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in 1995) but suicide (18,503 reported to the NCHS in 1995).
The report also includes four appendices: The Second Amendment No Right to Keep and Bear Arms; Number and Rates of Firearm Mortality United States, 1962 to 1994; Domestic Production of Civilian Firearms, 1899 to 1995; and, Wholesale Dollar Value of Firearms and Ammunition Manufactured in the United States as Estimated from Federal Excise Tax, 1983 to 1995. Beginning in August 1997, Who Dies? will be updated regularly and distributed semi-annually via mail and the VPC’s web site located at http://www.vpc.org.
Study author and VPC Health Policy Analyst Sue Glick states, “Identifying the variations in firearms death and injury among groups provides an opportunity to move beyond the popular but narrow perception of firearms violence as solely a crime issue to place it in its proper perspective: a widespread public health problem of which crime is merely the most recognized aspect. Who Dies? can serve as an educational tool and resource for anyone working to understand the nature of firearms violence in America.”