Study shows gun violence has plummeted, but still responsible for 70% of homicides
WASHINGTON — Gun violence has dropped dramatically nationwide during the past two decades, yet nearly three-quarters of homicides are committed with a firearm, the Justice Department said in a report released on Tuesday.
The report, by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, painted an encouraging picture of long-term trends at a time of divisive political debate over guns and legislation to regulate them. Firearms-related homicides declined 39 percent between 1993 and 2011, the report said, while nonfatal firearms crimes fell 69 percent during that period.
Yet the document made clear that when people are killed, it is still most likely to be with a gun. In 2011, as in the past two decades, about 70 percent of homicides were committed with a firearm, and the majority of those firearms were handguns.
Overall, the Justice Department report said, firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, while nonfatal firearm crimes declined from 1.5 million in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011. The drop extended to schools: Homicides in schools declined from an average of 29 per year in the 1990s to an average of 20 per year in the 2000s.
Although the rate of firearms homicides for blacks declined by 51 percent during the past two decades, that rate was still 14.6 per 100,000 people in 2010, compared with 1.9 for whites.
In 2010, the South had the highest rate of firearms homicides nationwide at 4.4 per 100,000 people, the report said. That compares with 3.4 in the Midwest, 3.0 in the West and 2.8 in the Northeast.
The report, which echoes findings of reductions in violent crime from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, was issued amid an intense divide over guns, especially since the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults in a school in Newtown, Conn.
Newtown thrust gun control to the top of President Obama's second-term agenda, and the White House pushed hard for a series of gun-control measures. But the effort unraveled under pressure from the gun rights lobby, and every major proposal was rejected on the Senate floor.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Social Security benefits to go up by 1.7 percent
- Still reeling from fire, FAA pushes changes
- North Korean detainee reunites with family in Ohio
- Biden’s son Hunter under no bar review after Navy Reserve discharge for cocaine use
- Over 3 years, extended federal leave adds up to $775M
- Panetta skipped CIA’s OK of book, potentially putting agency in delicate position with others
- Alleged trooper killer may have been seen Friday
- Expert: Stress level rises for Americans who forfeit vacation
- Archaeologists sift through Everglades muck for history
- 5 airports to handle all U.S.-bound travelers from Ebola-stricken nations
- Ex-NSA chief drops deal with former aide to avoid appearance of conflict