DOJ Study: Gunshot Wounds Decline 40%

By Keith W. Murrow
October 10, 2000

Washington (H24N). A new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) finds the number of gunshot wounds in the United States dropped 40 percent from 1993 to 1997.

The report, released Oct. 8 by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, looked at data from various sources: hospital emergency rooms, the DOJ's own National Criminal Victimization Survey, homicide reports from the FBI and death certificates collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC's Firearm Injury Surveillance Study showed that 62 percent of non-fatal firearm injuries treated in emergency rooms were the result of assaults, 17 percent were accidents, 6 percent were suicide attempts and 13 percent were from unknown causes.

As well as citing the decrease in the number of people who suffered from gunshot wounds, the report found that the homicide rate fell 27 percent, from 18,300 to 13,300, over the same five-year period.

The report also found that four out of five victims of both fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries were male, and nearly half of all victims were black males.

While more than half of the victims of nonfatal gunshot wounds from crime were younger than 25, the report also found that older victims were more frequently the victims of homicide.

According to the report, only 41 percent of victims of non-fatal gunshot injuries could identify what type of firearm was used. Of those, 82 percent of the victims reported being shot by a handgun, compared to 14 percent who identified a shotgun and 4 percent who said rifle.



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