3 Patterns of Firearm-Related Violence

К оглавлению
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 
68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 
102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 

In any given year, firearms accounted for over half of all known suicides,

two-thirds of all reported homicides,1 and less than 1 percent of known

accidental fatalities. But firearms do not always cause injury and death.

In fact, the vast majority of firearms uses do not result in personal injury

and are highly valued by many citizens. Any effort to assess the overall costs

and benefits of firearms needs to address the prevalence of the different

circumstances in which firearms are used and not just focus on those uses

that result in death or injury.

This chapter begins by placing firearm deaths in the United States in the

context of how they compare with other countries and how firearm-related

deaths in the United States compare to other causes of death. We then turn

to data on the availability and ownership of firearms in the United States.

Subsequent sections present some basic facts about firearms involvement in

violent crime, self-harm and suicide, and unintentional injury in the United

States.2 Because homicides and suicides are not randomly distributed in the

population, we describe the variations in these behaviors by gender and

race. These variations further demonstrate the need for refined studies and

explanations of the role of firearms in violence.

1We use the term homicide for the phrase criminal homicide. Criminal homicide is defined

as the willful killing of one human being by another and the killing of another person through

gross negligence (excluding traffic fatalities).

2In Chapter 2 we discussed the strength and weaknesses of some of the data systems we use

to describe the patterns of firearm violence. For now we attempt to carefully use the data and

to not overinterpret them, without reconsidering the strengths and weaknesses of the data.