On average, the States with more guns have more homicides.

On average, the States with more guns have more homicides.

We present conclusions from “Firearm Ownership and Domestic Versus Nondomestic Homicide in the U.S.”, in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine from July 22, 2019, by Aaron J. Kivisto, et al. At https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.009  They grouped states by quartiles of gun ownership.  This study is on homicides, but does not include the larger number of suicides.

First of all, they found that non-domestic firearm homicides are independent of state-level firearm ownership rates.  In contrast, when they looked at the rates of domestic firearm homicides, they found that states in the highest quartile of gun ownership had 64.6% more homicides than states in the bottom quartile of gun ownership.

They used state data from 1990 to 2016, over 27 years.  How this worked out for particular states shows their individuality in the map below.  In this case the Quartile 1 with a single circle is the quartile with the lowest gun ownership.  Four circles is the quartile with the most gun ownership.

We see that the highest Domestic Gun Homicide Rates are in the Southern States, which also are in the third and fourth quartiles of gun ownership.  Florida is the exception to the Southern States, with only first quartile gun ownership.  These are Republican states with high gun ownership.

There are some states with high gun ownership, but with low homicide rates, such as Vermont, and North Dakota.  On the other hand, Texas has a high homicide rate with below average gun ownership.

The total data had many surprises.  Total US homicides over the 27 years was 469,000, or close to a half million people.  Of these, about 2/3 were from guns, or 316,000, and a third were non-firearm, or 153,000.  

Non-domestic homicides are 354,00, or 75%.  Of those, 98,000 or 28% are non-firearm, and 256,000, or 72% were from firearms.

Domestic homicides, meaning intimate partner, or other family, totaled 115,000 or 25% of total homicides.

Intimate partner homicides were 63,300, broken down into firearm 35,500 or 56%, and non-firearm 27,800, or 44%.  Intimate partner homicides were  55% of domestic homicides.

Other family homicides were 51,800, or 45% of domestic homicides.  Of these, 24,100 or 47% were with firearms, and 27,700 or 53% were non-firearms.

Friend/acquaintance homicides totaled 235,000, which is 66% of non-domestic homicides.  Of these, 166,000 or 71% are from firearms, and 69,100 or 29%, are non-firearm.

Stranger homicides total 119,000, or 34% of non-domestic homicides.  Of these, 90,800 or 76% are from firearms, and 28,600 or 24% are non-firearms.

The total homicide perpetrators were:  13.6% intimate partners, 11.2% other family, 25.5% strangers, and 49.8% friend/acquaintance.

The firearm homicide perpetrators were:  11.3% intimate partners, 7.7% other family, 28.8% strangers, and 52.2% friend/acquaintance.

The national mean of gun ownership is 35.1%.   The mean gun ownership by Quartile is:  1, 23%; 2, 37%; 3, 43%; and 4, 55%, or 2.4 times that of Quartile 1.

California’s gun ownership rate is 25,1%.  Ohio’s rate is 33.2%, and Texas’s rate is 39.6%.

California’s breakdown of homicide perpetrators is 10.0% intimate partners, 8.8% other family, 35.6% stranger, and 45.7% friend/acquaintance.  The breakdown of firearm homicide perpetrators is 7.8% intimate partners, 5.3% other family, 39.1% stranger, and 47.7% friend/acquaintance.

 

 

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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