DOJ: Firearms-Related Homicides Drop 39% in 18 Years; Nonfatal Firearms Crimes Plummet 69%

May 7, 2013 - 5:50 PM

New statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) show firearm related homicides have declined 39 percent over the course of 18 years in the United States. Nonfatal firearm crimes have decreased 69 percent in the same time period.

"Firearm-related homicides declined 39 percent and nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69 percent from 1993 to 2011, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011," says a press release from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

It continues, "For both fatal and nonfatal firearm victimizations, the majority of the decline occurred during the 10-year period from 1993 to 2002. The number of firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through 2006 and then declined through 2011. Nonfatal firearm violence declined from 1993 through 2004 before fluctuating in the mid- to late 2000s."

Perhaps one of the biggest findings is that only two percent of state prison inmates who owned a gun at the time of their offense bought it at either a flea market or gun show:

"In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show. About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source."

Highlights from the report include:

  • Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.
  • Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.
  • Firearm violence accounted for about 70% of all homicides and less than 10% of all nonfatal violent crime from 1993 to 2011.
  • From 1993 to 2011, about 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun.
  • Males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 had the highest rates of firearm homicide from 1993 to 2010.
  • About 61% of nonfatal firearm violence was reported to the police in 2007-11.

The report, Firearm Violence, 1993-2011 (NCJ 241730), was produced by Michael Planty and Jennifer Truman.

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