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Homicide and Guns April 11, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in news, politics.

A new study published by the federal government on violent death in America came out this today. The study is based on violent death data from 16 states in 2005. There were 4,483 homicides reported, which means 280 homicides per state and 5.4 deaths per week. Most of the victims (54.7%) where never married and about 21% were not married at the time of death. This suggests that traditional marriage is good for one’s health and well-being.

It is no surprise that more males than females are killed by homicide. The ratio of male to female homicides is 3.7 to 1. Blacks account for 50.6% of all homicides followed by whites at 44.9%. The age range for 84% of all homicides is between 15 and 54. For males, the highest rate of homicide occurs between the ages 20-24 and 35-44 for females. Interestingly, the report revealed that 34% of homicide victims were intoxicated and 46.2 were on illegal drugs such marijuana, cocaine, or opium at the time of death. How much overlap of those intoxicated and on drugs is unknown.

Almost 79% of all homicides were precipitated by another crime. The crime was most often a robbery (39.5%), followed by assault (15.8%), drug trade (10.3%), burglary (9.0%), motor-vehicle theft (3.4%), or rape/sexual assault (3.2%). In those cases that were not precipitated by another crime, the most common precipitating circumstances were an argument, abuse, or conflict over something other than money or property (38.8%); drug-related (17.1%); or an argument regarding money or property (9.5%).

Although most violent deaths occur in homes or on public streets, the percent of all homicides involving those who were intimately related is only 13.3 percent.

The manner in which the study reported the suspect to victim relation gives the impression is that in over 45% of homicides the murderer is unknown. What may have actually been intended is that no one who knew the victim knew of any relationship between the victim and the murderer. If we assume that there was either no relationship or only a momentary one, then the data shows that in 67% of all homicides the murderer did not know the victim. In about 17% of homicides, the victim was either acquainted with or friends with the suspect and in less than 15% of homicides the perpetrator was a relative.

Guns were used in 64.5% of all homicides. Many see this statistic as the reason to eliminate gun ownership in America. Because most homicides are committed in the home by strangers, owning and knowing how to use guns as well as other means of self-defense seems the more appropriate way of dealing with the problem. Even if all guns were banned, criminals would still be able to get gun illegally. Besides, the reason for the Second Amendment was to enable ordinary citizens to defend their country, their families, and their lives from attacks by foreign armies, criminals, and a potentially totalitarian government. The framers of the so-called Bill of Rights knew American government could at some point become as tyrannical as the British government was in 1770s.

Source: Debra L. Karch, et. al., Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2005, MMWR: Surveillance Summaries (57(SS03):1-43,45.



1. Kimberly R. Fuller - December 9, 2009

I have found a lot of useful information on this site for a research paper that I am doing on gun control. There are only a few things that it is lacking. I need to know who the author of this article is and the date and year it was published. If I could get that information my information would be complete.

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