According to the FBI’s Uniform CrimeReports, 30% of the murders, robber-ies, and aggravated assaults reportedto police from 1993 to 1997 involvedfirearms. Of these violent crimes, 1%were murders. Of all murders from1993 to 1997, 69% were committedwith firearms.
How many people are injured byfirearms and how many of theseinjuries are the result of crime?
According to the National HospitalAmbulatory Medical Care Surveyconducted by the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC), 0.4% ofall injury visits to hospital emergencydepartments from 1992 to 1995 werecaused by firearms (4 of every 1,000visits.)
This estimate includes allcauses of firearm injury and mayinclude visits for patients seekingfollow-up care and patients who diedat the hospital.Estimates from the CDC Firearm InjurySurveillance Study show that from1993 through 1997, about 412,000nonfatal firearm-related injuries weretreated in U.S. hospital emergencydepartments.
-38%Percent change64,200199769,600199684,200199589,60019941042001993411,8001993-97 Total
Source: Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, Firearm Injury Surveillance Study,1993-97.
Of the total nonfatal firearm injuries —
62% resulted from assaults
17% were unintentional
6% were suicide attempts
1% were legal interventions
13% were from unknown causes.While most nonfatal firearm-relatedinjuries are from crime, most firearm-related deaths are suicides. Accordingto the Vital Statistics, 180,533 firearmdeaths occurred from 1993 through1997: 51% were suicides, 44%homicides, 1% legal interventions, 3%unintentional incidents, and 1% were ofundetermined causes.
The number of nonfatal assaultsand homicides from firearmsdeclined from 1993 to 1997
From 1993 to 1997 nonfatal firearminjuries from crime declined 39% andfirearm-related homicides fell 27%.Firearm injury and deaths from othercauses also declined over the period.Firearm injuries resulting from suicideattempts declined 45%, and those fromunintentional causes declined 39%.Unintentional deaths from firearms fellby 36% and suicides fell by 7%. (Formore detailed data, see
*95% confidence interval estimates thenumber to be between 160,300 to 353,700.See
HomicidesNonfatalassaultsNonfatal and fatalfirearminuries
Sources: Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, Firearm Injury Surveillance Study,1993-97 and the Vital Statistics of the UnitedStates, 1993-97.
The ratio of nonfatal to fatal gunshotinjuries varies by intent
From 1993 through 1997 there were3.3 nonfatal gunshot injuries fromassault treated in hospital emergencydepartments for every firearm-relatedhomicide. For gunshot injuriessustained unintentionally, there were11.4 nonfatal injuries for every gunshotfatality. Firearm-related suicideattempts were the most likely to resultin a fatality, as there were 0.3 firearm-related attempted suicides for everycompleted suicide.
Most victims of gunshot injury anddeath from crime were male; almosthalf were black males
From 1993 to 1997 —
Eighty-nine percent of the victims ofnonfatal gunshot wounds from crimewere male; 84% of firearm homicidevictims were male, according to theFBI’s Supplementary HomicideReports (SHR).
Blacks made up 54% of the victimsof nonfatal gunshot wounds from crimeand 54% of the homicide victims.
Almost 1 in 5 victims of nonfatalgunshot wounds from crime wereHispanic. Equivalent data for homicidevictims are not available in the SHR.According to the Vital Statistics, 18% ofthe homicide victims were Hispanic.
5Unknown**...Other female2Hispanic female3Other male3White female*6Black female15White male*17Hispanic male%49Black male
Percent of victimsof nonfatal gunshotwounds from crime
... Less than .05%.*Represents white, non-Hispanic.**Males of unknown race represented 4.2% ofthe victims, and females of unknown race were0.5%.Source: Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, Firearm Injury Surveillance Study,1993-97.
Black males ages 15 to 24 made up26% of all the victims of nonfatalgunshot wounds from crime and 22%of the homicide victims.While the majority of victims of nonfataland fatal gunshot wounds from crime2
Firearm Injury and Death from Crime, 1993-97
V. Beaman, J.L. Annest, J.A. Mercy, M.Kresnow, and D.A. Pollock, “Lethality offirearm-related injuries in the United Statespopulation,”
Annals of Emergency Medicine
C.W. Burt and L.A. Fingerhut. “Injury visits tohospital emergency departments: United States,1992-95,” National Center for Health Statistics,
Vital Health Statistics,