In response to the thread More gun control. (this time lets argue the effects), I wanted to dig up some statistics on gun homicides in America, since most arguments are pretty vacuous without some data to back them up. Well, I tried the NRA for an anti-gun control perspective and the Violence Policy Center for a pro gun control perspective. Both sites publish what they call “fact sheets” which contain concise statistical information on gun violence.
Needless to say, I found the numbers to be a bit contradictory, so I decided to go to the horse’s mouth, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and put together my own data. All of these numbers come from the year 1998 (they’re probably still slogging through the 1999 data). The data are so interesting that I figured I’d start a new topic in GD in the hopes that people would respond with their interpretations, thoughts, rants, etc. Personally, I lean toward the gun control side of the debate, although I am a gun owner myself and I am open to other sides of the issue.
Anyway, here’s what I found:
In 1998, there were 16,911 homicides. A total of 64.9% of all homicides were committed using firearms. Of the gun homicides, 80.3% were committed using handguns and 19.7% were committed using other guns (rifles, shotguns, machine guns, etc.). Of the 11,687 gun homicides of which the circumstances were known, 25.6% occurred as the result of felony (rape, robbery, burglary, theft, drug offenses), 47.9% occurred as the result of arguments (brawls, disagreements, domestic violence, influence of alcohol), 10.3% as a result of gang violence, and 14.7% resulting from other causes.
58.3% of all intimate homicides (murders committed by spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends) were committed using a gun, with 75.5% of the victims female and 24.5% male. Intimate gun homicides made up 14.0% of all known gun homicides.
And finally, in 1997, out of 30,535 total suicides, 17,566 (57.5%) were committed using guns (source: Suicide Statistics).