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Firearms Violence - General

  1. Deaths: Final Data for 1997, Donna L. Hoyert, PhD; Kenneth D. Kochanek, MA; et al, National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 47, No. 19, June 30, 1999.

    This publication is an annual report. It includes charts providing the total numbers of firearm deaths, as well as death rates from homicide, suicide, unintentional, and undetermined shootings broken out by age, race, and sex. For comparison purposes, the study provides charts on the 10 leading causes of death.

    This publication is free. Call the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at (301) 436-8500 or write to the NCHS at 6525 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782-2003. Ask to be placed on the NCHS mailing list. The NCHS web site is located at

    Key Facts: In 1997 more than 32,000 Americans were killed with firearms�

    • 17,566 in firearm suicides,
    • 13,522 in firearm homicides,
    • 981 in unintentional firearm deaths,
    • 367 in firearm deaths of undetermined intent.

  2. Fatal Firearm Injuries in the United States, 1962-1994, Violence Surveillance Summary Series, No. 3, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

    This report reviews the descriptive epidemiology of firearm-related mortality in the United States from 1962 to 1994. The patterns of overall firearm deaths�homicide, suicide, and unintentional death�are examined by race, sex, and age group.

    This publication is free. Contact the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, MS-K60, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724. It may also be ordered on the Internet at

    Key Facts: During the 33-year period covered�

    • The total number of firearm deaths increased by 130% from 16,720 in 1962 to 38,505 in 1994.
    • Suicide and homicide account for almost all gun deaths�e.g., 94% in 1994.
    • The rates for unintentional deaths from firearms have generally declined throughout the study period.

  3. Characteristics of Firearms Involved in Fatalities, Stephen W. Hargarten, MD, MPH; Trudy A. Karlson, PhD; et al, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), Vol. 275, No. 1, January 3, 1996, pp. 42-45.

    This study documents the types of firearms used in firearm fatalities between 1990 and 1994 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Key Facts: Between 1990 and 1994 in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, researchers found that handguns accounted for�

    • 89% of firearm homicides,
    • 71% of firearm suicides.

  4. The Association Between the Purchase of a Handgun and Homicide or Suicide, Peter Cummings, MD, MPH; Thomas D. Koepsell, MD, MPH; et al, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 87, No. 6, June 1997, pp. 974-978.

    This case-control study involving members of a Washington state HMO examines whether purchase of a handgun from a licensed dealer is associated with the risk of homicide or suicide.

    Key Facts:

    • Members of handgun-owning families were twice as likely to die in a suicide or homicide as members of the same age, sex, and neighborhood who had no history of handgun purchase.
    • These increased risks persisted for more than five years after the purchase.

  5. Deaths Resulting from Firearm- and Motor Vehicle-Related Injuries�United States, 1968-1991, MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), Vol. 43, No. 3, January 28, 1994, pp. 37-42.

    This article compares changes over time between motor vehicle-related deaths and firearm-related deaths.

    Key Facts:

    • From 1968 to 1991, motor vehicle-related deaths declined by 21%, while firearm-related deaths increased by 60%.
    • It is estimated that by the year 2003, firearm-related deaths will surpass deaths from motor vehicle-related injuries. In 1991 this was already the case in seven states (California, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Texas, Virginia) and in the District of Columbia.

  6. Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home, Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH and Donald T. Reay, MD, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 314, No. 24, June 12, 1986, pp. 1557-1560.

    In this early and much-cited study, the authors examined firearm-related deaths in the home during a six-year period (1978 to 1983) in King County, Washington.

    Key Fact:

    • For every case in which an individual used a firearm kept in the home in a self-defense homicide, there were 1.3 unintentional deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms.

  7. Who Dies? A Look at Firearms Death and Injury in America, Susan Glick, MHS, Violence Policy Center, Washington, DC, February 1999, 36 pages.

    This report provides user-friendly access to the most pertinent statistics on gun violence in America for the press, policymakers, and the general public. Who Dies? gives a demographic breakdown of the latest trends in firearm-related injuries and deaths in the U.S., as well as the economic toll of treating gunshot victims. Sources include the National Center for Health Statistics, the FBI, and the CDC.

    This publication is $5.00, including shipping and handling. Call the Violence Policy Center at (202) 822-8200 or write to the VPC at 1140 19th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Follow this link to view Who Dies?.

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   Eight Publications Every
   Advocate Needs

   Firearms Violence - General
   Firearms Homicide
   Firearms Homicide and
   Domestic Violence
   Firearms Homicide in
   the Workplace
   Firearms Suicide
   Firearm Deaths of Children
   Nonfatal Firearm-Related Injuries
   Costs of Firearms Violence
   Firearms and Crime
   Firearms Ownership,
   Concealed Carrying,
   Self-Defense Use, and Gun
   Analyses of Pro-Gun
   Self-Defense Studies
   The Gun Lobby - Firearms
   Industry and Organizations
   Licensed Dealers

   Marketing Firearms to
   Women and Youth

   Appendix One: Organizations
   and Agencies

   Appendix Two: Understanding
   and Using Statistics

All contents � 2000 Violence Policy Center