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Firearm availability and female homicide victimization rates among 25 populous high-income countries



to determine the association between firearm availability and female homicide victimization among high-income countries. Data were assembled for the most recent available year (1994-1999) from the official reports of the ministries of health for those countries that had more than 2 million inhabitants and were dassified as high income by the World Bank. Twenty-five nations provided sufficient information for the analysis. Rates of female victimization from homicide, firearm homicide, and nonfirearm homicide were compared with a validated proxy for household firearm ownership (the percentage of total national suicides that are committed with firearms). Possible confounding variables included in the analysis were the percentage of the population living in urban areas and income inequality. The United States is an outlier. It had the highest level of household firearm ownership and the highest female homicide rate. The United States accounted for 32% of the female population in these high-income countries, but for 70% of all female homicides and 84% of all female firearm homicides. Female homicide victimization rates were significantly associated with firearm availability largely because of the United States. Among high-income countries, where firearms are more available, more women are homicide victims. Women in the United States are at higher risk of homicide victimization than are women in any other high-income country.
100 JAMWA Vol. 57, No. 2
Objective: to determine the association
between firearm availability and female
homicide victimization among high-
income countries.
Methods: Data were assembled for the
most recent available year (1994-1999)
from the official reports of the min-
istries of health for those countries that
had more than 2 million inhabitants
and were classified as high income by
the World Bank. Twenty-five nations
provided sufficient information for the
analysis. Rates of female victimization
from homicide, firearm homicide, and
nonfirearm homicide were compared
with a validated proxy for household
firearm ownership (the percentage
of total national suicides that are
committed with firearms). Possible
confounding variables included in
the analysis were the percentage of the
population living in urban areas and
income inequality.
Results: The United States is an
outlier. It had the highest level of
household firearm ownership and the
highest female homicide rate. The
United States accounted for 32% of
the female population in these high-
income countries, but for 70% of all
female homicides and 84% of all
female firearm homicides. Female
homicide victimization rates were
significantly associated with firearm
availability largely because of the
United States.
Conclusion: Among high-income
countries, where firearms are more
available, more women are homicide
victims. Women in the United States
are at higher risk of homicide victim-
ization than are women in any other
high-income country. (JAMWA.
Crossnational studies usually
(but not
) find that countries with higher
levels of household firearm ownership
have significantly higher homicide rates.
Women have much lower rates of homi-
cide victimization than men do, so the
data in these analyses are dominated
by male deaths. To our knowledge, no
study has examined female homicide
rates crossnationally.
A few studies have investigated the
association between household firearm
ownership and homicide among US
women. One study found that house-
hold firearm ownership was significantly
correlated with female firearm homicide
rates, but not with nonfirearm homicide
Another study found that higher
levels of firearm ownership were signifi-
cantly associated with both firearm and
overall homicide rates of women.
In this article we examine whether
women in countries with higher levels of
household firearm ownership are also at
higher risk of homicide victimization.
Our study analyzed late 1990s data from
countries that had more than 2 million
inhabitants and were defined by the
World Bank as high-income nations.
We analyzed only high-income nations
because, compared with lower-income
nations, their surveillance data are more
reliable and their socioeconomic condi-
tions are more comparable. We were par-
ticularly interested in the victimization
rates of women in the United States.
The World Bank classifies countries by
income level based on their gross national
product per capita.
The World Health
Organization assembled data on homicide
victimization and suicide, broken down
into firearm and nonfirearm categories,
from official reports by the ministries
of health of those countries classified as
high income by the World Bank. We
used data from only those high-income
countries that had populations over 2
million. Many of the less populous high-
income countries did not provide com-
plete data, and results of rare events such
as homicides among women might be
unstable if we used data from countries
with relatively few people (eg, Iceland,
Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Slovenia,
Northern Ireland). We counted the
United Kingdom as 2 populous countries
(England/Wales and Scotland), for a
total of 25 nations with more than 2
million inhabitants that met the World
Bank definition of high income.
We used data from the most recent
single year (1994-1999) for which they
were available. The names of the coun-
tries, size of female population, absolute
numbers and rates of overall female
homicide, firearm homicide, and non-
firearm homicide are given in Table 1.
Data were not available on handgun
Perhaps the most preferred proxy for
firearm availability is survey information
on the percentage of households with
firearms, but many high-income coun-
tries do not record such data. Various
other proxies have been used, and a recent
study tried to determine which of these
was the most valid and reliable. The
authors concluded that the percentage
of suicides committed with guns was
consistently better than the other proxies
and that it had a high degree of validity
when tested against survey-based esti-
The percentage of suicides with
Firearm Availability and Female Homicide Victimization
Rates Among 25 Populous High-Income Countries
Dr. Hemenway is director, Dr. Shinoda-Tagawa is
a researcher, and Dr. Miller is associate director, all
at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.
Dr. Hemenway is also a professor in the Harvard
School of Public Health.
firearms has been shown to be very highly
correlated with the percentage of house-
holds reporting firearm ownership
among US Census regions (r=.93),
21 US states (r=.90),
170 US cities
and 14 areas within a single
US state (r=.76).
The proxy is also highly correlated
with surveys of gun ownership among
high-income nations; the correlation was
over 90% (r=.91) in 16 developed
nations in the early 1990s.
For this arti-
cle, we analyzed data from 18 high-
income nations for the late 1990s
found a similar high degree of correla-
tion (r=.92). Given the high degree of
correlation for those 18 countries, the
association between firearm availability
and female homicide rates was virtually
identical whether we used firearm own-
ership or the percentage of suicides with
firearms as our proxy for firearm avail-
ability (not shown).
Thus, we used the percentage of total
(male and female) suicides with firearms
as a measure of firearm availability. The
percentage of male suicides with firearms
was virtually the same as the percentage
of total suicides with firearms (r=.99) for
these 25 countries. We did not use the
percentage of female suicides with firearms
as a proxy for firearm availability in this
analysis because most firearms are owned
and used by men, and most female
homicide victims are killed by men.
Analyses were conducted using both
the homicide victimization rate and the
natural log of the homicide victimization
rate, the latter better approximating a
normal distribution. Analyses were also
conducted using both unweighted data
and data weighted by each country’s
female population.
We also included 2 control variables,
and income inequality,
which have been associated with homi-
cide rates in previous studies. Data on
the percentage of the country that is
urbanized come from the Population
Reference Bureau. As a proxy for income
inequality, we use the Gini coefficient;
data come from the World Bank’s World
Development Report. Unfortunately,
Gini coefficient data were not available
for New Zealand or Hong Kong, and
data for England/Wales and Scotland
were combined. As a result, multivariate
analyses, which included both urbaniza-
tion and income inequality as indepen-
dent variables along with gun availability,
had only 22 observations.
We did not use poverty as a predictor
variable because data were available for only
17 of the populous high-income countries.
We provide the Pearson correlation
coefficient between the gun availability
proxy and female homicide, and in
the regressions we used the t-test for
Spring 2002 101
Table 1. Female Homicide Rates for 25 Populous High-Income Countries, 1994-1999
Gun Suicides
Female as Percentage
Population Total Homicides, Gun Homicides, Nongun Homicides, of All Suicides
Country Year (in millions) n (rate) n (rate) n (rate) (men and women)
Australia 1997 9.3 106 (1.14) 25 (0.27) 81 (0.87) 11.3
Austria 1999 4.2 36 (0.86) 8 (0.19) 28 (0.67) 17.5
Belgium 1995 5.2 69 (1.33) 22 (0.42) 47 (0.91) 13.4
Canada 1997 15.1 146 (0.96) 44 (0.29) 102 (0.67) 22.2
Denmark 1996 2.7 23 (0.86) 4 (0.15) 19 (0.71) 9.0
England and Wales 1997 26.5 106 (0.40) 6 (0.02) 100 (0.38) 2.9
Finland 1996 2.6 51 (1.94) 10 (0.38) 41 (1.56) 22.3
France 1997 30.0 216 (0.72) 84 (0.28) 132 (0.44) 22.9
Germany 1998 42.0 278 (0.66) 47 (0.11) 231 (0.55) 7.8
Greece 1997 5.3 32 (0.60) 12 (0.23) 20 (0.38) 20.1
Hong Kong 1996 3.2 24 (0.76) 1 (0.03) 23 (0.73) 0.5
Ireland 1996 1.8 14 (0.77) 2 (0.11) 12 (0.66) 9.1
Israel 1997 3.0 6 (0.20) 1 (0.03) 5 (0.17) 19.3
Italy 1997 29.6 159 (0.54) 52 (0.18) 107 (0.36) 13.3
Japan 1997 63.7 284 (0.45) 4 (0.01) 280 (0.44) 0.2
Netherlands 1997 7.9 63 (0.80) 11 (0.14) 52 (0.66) 3.2
New Zealand 1998 1.9 25 (1.30) 1 (0.05) 24 (1.25) 12.5
Norway 1997 2.2 13 (0.58) 5 (0.22) 8 (0.36) 23.8
Portugal 1998 5.2 33 (0.64) 17 (0.33) 16 (0.31) 9.0
Scotland 1999 2.6 20 (0.76) 1 (0.04) 19 (0.72) 2.2
Singapore 1997 1.5 16 (1.04) (0.00) 16 (1.04) 1.3
Spain 1997 20.1 99 (0.49) 22 (0.11) 77 (0.38) 6.6
Sweden 1996 4.5 36 (0.80) 2 (0.04) 34 (0.76) 13.0
Switzerland 1994 3.6 48 (1.34) 22 (0.61) 26 (0.72) 26.4
United States 1997 136.6 4384 (3.21) 2106 (1.54) 2278 (1.67) 57.6
Total 430.5 6287 (1.46) 2509 (0.58) 3778 (0.88)
Total excluding United States 293.9 1903 (0.65) 403 (0.14) 1500 (0.51)
102 JAMWA Vol. 57, No. 2
The female homicide rate per 100 000 for
the 25 populous high-income countries
varied from 0.20 (Israel) to 3.21 (United
States). The weighted mean was 1.46
(6287 homicides divided by the total
female population); the unweighted
mean was 0.92, with a standard deviation
of 0.60.
The United States was an extreme
case in terms of both gun prevalence and
female homicide (Figures 1 and 2). The
United States accounted for 32% of the
total female population among these
high-income nations and for 70% of
all female homicide victims (Table 1).
The US female homicide rate was 5
times that of all the other high-income
countries combined (3.21 per 100 000
v 0.65 per 100 000), and the female
firearm homicide rate in the United
States was 11 times higher than that of
the other countries in our sample (1.54
per 100 000 v 0.14 per 100 000); the
US nongun homicide rate was 3 times
higher (1.67 per 100 000 v 0.51 per
100 000) (Table 1).
When the United States was excluded,
Finland and Israel were the main outliers
(Figures 1 and 2). Both have fairly many
guns, but Finland had a high female
homicide rate and Israel a very low rate.
In the bivariate analysis, for unweighted
data, the total female homicide rate
was significantly associated with firearm
availability (r=.71) among these 25
countries. When the United States was
excluded, however, the association was
not significant (Table 2). Results using
the natural log of the dependent variable
were always very similar (but with corre-
lation coefficients a bit lower) and are
not shown.
For unweighted data, the female
firearm homicide rate was very highly
correlated with firearm availability
(r=.87). US women accounted for 84%
(2106/2509) of women who were killed
with firearms (Table 1). Even when the
United States was excluded, there was
still a strong correlation between firearm
availability and firearm homicide rates
(r=.66) (Table 2).
For unweighted data, the nongun
female homicide rate was significantly
associated with gun availability (r=.42).
When the United States was excluded,
Homicide Rate
% Suicides With Guns
Figure 1. Female homicide victimization rates versus a proxy for firearm
availability for 25 populous high-income countries, 1994-1999. See Figure 2
for names of countries.
Homicide Rate
% Suicides With Guns
20 40 60
Hong Kong
New Zealand
United States
Figure 2. Female homicide victimization rates versus a proxy for firearm
availability for 25 populous high-income countries, 1994-1999. See Figure 1
for placement of each country.
Spring 2002 103
there was no association between the
nongun female homicide rate and gun
availability (Table 2).
In bivariate analysis using weighted
data, results show that, when the United
States was excluded, overall female homi-
cide rates and female firearm homicide
rates were associated with gun availability,
and nongun homicide rates were not
(Table 2).
Neither urbanization nor income
inequality was significantly associated
with the overall female homicide rate,
the female firearm homicide rate, or the
female nonfirearm homicide rate in either
the unweighted or weighted analyses.
Including these 2 variables in multivariate
regressions had virtually no effect on the
association between firearm availability
and female homicide victimization (not
Our simple regressions of 25 populous
high-income countries showed a signifi-
cant positive correlation between gun
availability and rates of female homicide
victimization. The correlation between
gun availability and the rate of female
firearm homicide victimization was even
Our results are consistent with many
ecological studies of the relationship
between firearm availability and total
(male and female) homicide rates.
Crossnational studies of high-income
and cross-sectional studies
of the United States
have found that
areas with more firearms have higher
homicide rates. Our results are also
consistent with case-control studies that
have found a gun in the home to be a
risk factor for homicide victimization
and perpetration.
The US female homicide victimization
rate was 5 times higher than the rate
for the other high-income countries
combined. When the United States was
excluded from the sample, a significant
relationship existed between gun avail-
ability and female homicide in the model
when we weighted observations by each
country’s population, but not for the
unweighted analysis. Weighting the
25 observations by the population of
the country increased the association
between firearm availability and female
homicide because some of the most
populous countries (eg, the United
States, Japan, England/Wales) were at
the extremes. The United States had
many guns and many female homicides,
whereas Japan and England/Wales had
few guns and few female homicides.
Because the United States has such a
large population, weighted analyses
emphasized how it differed from other
high-income nations in homicide rates
and firearm availability. The United
States was also an outlier among high-
income countries not only in the number
of households with firearms, but even
more so in the percentage with handguns.
In addition, the United States has fewer
regulations governing the acquisition and
use of firearms than other high-income
giving residents much easier
access to firearms.
Although we know of no other cross-
national studies of firearms and female
homicide, various studies have examined
the relationship between firearms and
female victimization within the United
States. Stranger violence is not the major
threat to women, as it is for men. An
analysis of female homicides in the United
States from 1976 to 1987 found that
when the perpetrator was known, almost
half were spouses or intimate acquain-
tances; only 13% of female homicide
victims were killed by strangers. Many
more women were killed with guns used
by their husbands or intimate acquain-
tances than were murdered by strangers
using guns, knives, or any other means.
A recent study of the United States
showed that women in states with higher
levels of firearm availability had higher
rates of homicide victimization.
A case-
control study
of 143 women from 3
metropolitan counties who were killed
in their homes found that having a gun
in the home was a large, independent,
and significant risk factor for homicide
victimization (odds ratio 3.4). Other
factors controlled for in the analysis
included age, race, neighborhood, a
history of mental illness or depression,
and living alone.
One reason a gun in the home can be
a threat to women is that assaults with
guns are far more likely to be lethal than
are other assaults. A study of family and
intimate assaults in Atlanta found that
firearm assaults were 3 times more likely
to result in death than were assaults with
knives and 23 times more likely to result
in death than were assaults with other
Guns are used against women
to intimidate as well as to wound or kill.
More than 6% of US women reported
having ever been threatened with guns,
and most assaults against women were
perpetrated by their partners.
random-digit-dial surveys conducted in
1996 and 1999 found that gun threats
in the home against women by intimates
were far more common than home self-
defense gun uses by women.
The analyses in this article have various
limitations. First, the regressions contain
only 3 independent variables: urbaniza-
tion, income inequality, and a proxy for
firearm availability. It is possible that the
associations could be explained by other
variables. Although we looked exclusively
at high-income nations and thus con-
trolled, in part, for some social and eco-
nomic variables, these countries differ
in many ways. Even among regions of
the United States, for example, cultures
may vary sufficiently to affect homicide
The cultural differences among
Table 2: Correlation Coefficients and Significance Levels from
Regressions of Gun Availability and Female Homicide Rates
for 25 Populous High-Income Countries, 1994-1999
Gun Ownership Level
For Female Victims Gun Ownership Level, Weighted by Population,
Dependent Variable Correlation (p) Correlation (p)
Total homicide rate 0.71 (<.001) 0.97 (<.001)
Excluding United States 0.30 (.15) 0.54 (.01)
Firearm homicide rate 0.87 (<.001) 0.98 (<.001)
Excluding United States 0.66 (<.001) 0.84 (<.001)
Nonfirearm homicide rate 0.42 (.04) 0.93 (<.001)
Excluding United States 0.02 (.91) 0.19 (.38)
nations are even greater.
Another limitation of our study is that
measures of homicide may vary from
country to country because of differences
in the specificity and sensitivity of the
surveillance systems. Such problems
with data comparability and accuracy are
particularly acute for nonindustrialized
nations. Including only high-income
countries in our analysis reduced this
Cross-sectional studies like ours do
not provide information about causality.
It is possible that high rates of lethal
violence cause some US households to
acquire firearms. For women, this does
not generally appear to be a beneficial
strategy, because many women are
murdered by intimates. Furthermore,
because men typically own household
reverse causation is not likely
to be a problem in this study.
Our analyses showed that in high-
income countries, where there were more
firearms, there were more female homi-
cide victims, particularly female firearm
homicide victims. These results were
driven largely by the United States. US
women are at far higher risk of homicide
victimization than are women in any
other high-income country.
Thanks to Gyanendra Sharma of the World Health
Organization for providing the data. This research
was supported in part by grants from the Joyce
and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, the Open
Society Institute, and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
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104 JAMWA Vol. 57, No. 2
... Moreover, in cases where reliable national registers exist, the prevalence of illegal firearms is not accounted for. Therefore, cross-national studies have diverted to using different proxies for firearm ownership and availability, such as survey data from the International Crime Victims Survey [23,27,28], firearm suicide rates [29,30], accidental firearm death rates [30,31], or the often-cited Cook's Index, which uses the average of the percentages of US suicides and homicides committed with firearms to estimate levels of ownership [32,33]. In the two crossnational correlational studies included in this systematic review, three different proxies for firearm availability were used: accidental firearms deaths, suicides by gunshot and rate of civilian firearm ownership as reported by the Small Arms Survey, which in turn is based on multiple sources such as national registries, population surveys and expert estimates [34]. ...
... That is, however, not to say that the link between firearm prevalence and firearm violence has not been addressed in academic literature at all. There are number of widely cited cross-national correlational studies that include European data [23,28,29,33,[36][37][38]. Yet, those studies also include data from other non-European nations, often the US, Canada, Japan or Australia, in their statistical correlational analysis, which makes it impossible to reveal findings based on European data only. ...
Full-text available
Background Higher availability of firearms has been connected to higher rates of interpersonal violence in previous studies. Yet, those studies have focused mainly on the United States, or used aggregated international data to study firearm violence. Whether those aggregated findings are applicable to understanding the phenomenon in continental Europe specifically remains unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to bring together all studies that exclusively use European data. Methods Nine databases were searched, resulting in more than 1900 individual studies. These studies were assessed on relevance and eligibility for this study, based on their title, abstract and full text. Information on study characteristics, operationalizations of main concepts and study results were extracted from the six eligible studies. Results Four studies assessed the impact of firearm restrictive regulations on the rate of firearm homicides. Two other studies correlated rates of firearm availability and -violence. Results vary: some studies show a clear decline once availability of firearms is restricted, while others indicate a limited effect on only a very specific subgroup, such as female victims, or national guards with weapons at home. Moreover, studies used various operationalizations for firearm availability, thereby decreasing the comparability of findings. Conclusion Empirical research exclusively using European data is still lacking. To increase comparability of future studies, methodological inconsistencies and regional gaps need to be overcome. Assessing how firearm availability can be measured with reliable and valid proxies across countries will be a crucial first step to improve future research on the link between firearms and firearm violence.
... Les liens entre drogue et homicides apparaissent, au vu des analyses mobilisées, imputables au trafic plutôt qu'à la consommation de drogue. Les territoires d'Outre-mer avec la plus grosse consommation ne présentent ni les taux d'homicides les plus élevés ni des pourcentages élevés d'homicides liés à des conflits entre malfaiteurs.La disponibilité et la circulation des armes à feu sont également identifiées par la recherche comme des facteurs criminogènes pouvant expliquer la variation du taux d'homicide dans un territoire(Cook, 1981 ;Kellermann et al., 1993 ;Hemenway et al., 2002 ;Kapusta et al., 2007 ;Blais et al., 2013 ;Reeves-Latour et Blais, 2014 ; UNODC, 2019). Notons d'ailleurs que dans les trois territoires d'Outre-mer présentant les taux d'homicides les plus élevés (Guadeloupe, Martinique et Guyane), plus de la moitié des homicides sont commis à l'aide d'une arme à feu. ...
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La situation sécuritaire des territoires d’Outre-mer est souvent méconnue à cause du peu de données disponibles, et détaillées sur la criminalité commise dans ces territoires et au manque d’analyses explicatives. À travers l’étude des homicides et d’analyses statistiques descriptives et bivariées, nous avons pu objectiver des différences entre le volume et les circonstances des homicides commis dans les territoires ultra-marins et la France métropolitaine, mais également entre les territoires d’Outre-mer entre eux. Les homicides commis dans les territoires situés dans la mer des Caraïbes et en Guyane présentent notamment des différences significatives avec ceux commis dans les autres territoires d’Outre-mer et en métropole. Enfin, cet article fournit également des éléments d’explication, issus des sphères sociale, démographique, criminogène ou encore géographique, pour mieux contextualiser ces différences et/ou similitudes.
... Firearms are the most common form of weapon for intimate partner homicide in the U.S., but not in other high income countries [30]. International data from these high income countries, shows that overall female homicide and gun availability cluster together, with the U.S. being an extreme outlier in both [31]. An abusive partner's access to a firearm in the home is associated with more severe IPV [30]. ...
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Background Almost one-half of U.S. women will experience intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner. IPV is associated with an increased risk of homicide, with firearms as the most commonly used weapon. We designed this study to better understand the correlation of interpersonal trauma exposures and demographic factors on firearm perceptions among a cohort of IPV-exposed women. Methods Two hundred sixty-seven women in central Pennsylvania with exposure to IPV were surveyed about perceptions of gun access, safety, and gun presence in the home. Trauma variables included IPV type, IPV recency, unwanted sexual exposure, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Multivariable analyses examined three questions examining firearm perceptions controlling for trauma exposures and demographics. Results Ease of firearm acquisition : Women who were older (mean 44.92 years +/− SD 12.05), compared to women who were younger (40.91 +/− SD 11.81 years) were more likely to describe it as easy or very easy to acquire a gun (aOR 1.05, 95%CI 1.004, 1.10). Perceived safety in the proximity of a gun : Women with the highest ACE score were less likely to feel safe with a gun nearby (aOR 0.31, 95%CI 0.14, 0.67). Odds of guns in the home : Women who were divorced or separated (aOR 0.22, 95%CI 0.09, 0.54), women were widowed or single (aOR0.23, 95%CI 0.08, 0.67), and women who were partnered (aOR 0.45 95%CI 0.20, 0.97) had lower odds of having a gun in the home, compared to married women. There was no significant effect of the trauma variables on the odds of having a gun at home. Conclusions Women with more severe childhood trauma felt less safe around firearms, but trauma exposures did not predict the perception of gun prevalence in the local community or gun ownership. Instead, demographic factors of marriage predicted presence of a gun in the home.
Fridel recently published a macro-level panel study of firearms homicide rates and counts of mass shootings, and concluded that higher gun ownership rates increase the number of mass shootings, and that more permissive laws on gun carrying increase the firearms homicide rate. The conclusions are unreliable because the study repeated the most important methodological errors identified in prior research.
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Trata-se de estudo de revisão dos estudos internacionais a respeito das evidências sobre políticas de controle de armas de fogo e seus efeitos no controle da letalidade.
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Although Trinidad and Tobago have not witnessed any form of civil conflict within the past two decades, many communities are in a state of uneasiness due to the proliferation of gun violence and gun-related homicides on the island. In spite of the magnitude of the problem, there is a paucity of academic literature and data on homicides committed with firearms on the island. Using quantitative data obtained from the Crime and Problem Analysis (CAPA) Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), this paper examines gun violence and gun homicides on the island from 2010 to 2016. The study therefore focuses on the extent of guns, gun violence and gun homicides on the criminal landscape in Trinidad and Tobago’s societies. Instructively, other gun-related issues, for example, suicides involving the use of a firearm, firearm seizures by the police, persons shot and killed by the police and firearm-related homicides by gender are also examined. The findings indicate: (1) a high level of deaths caused by guns on the island, and (2) that males are more likely to become victims of gun homicide in Trinidad and Tobago. Other key results and implications for policy are discussed.
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This article reviews research undertaken over the past two decades to support international policy on small arms and light weapons (SALW) – which include firearms – and discusses its relevance to academic debates and policy on gun violence. It examines whether SALW research generated a greater understanding of the most problematic uses and users of firearms, and of the role of different weapons as instruments of violence. SALW research helped shift international policy from armed conflicts to gun violence occurring in a range of developing and post-conflict settings, and in Europe following the 2015–16 terror attacks. This work underscored the proximate weapons sources that armed groups often utilise, and the importance of flows of certain weapons – such as converted firearms – and ammunition in fuelling violence. Undertaking impact evaluations of novel interventions, monitoring the impact of new technologies, and investigating the relationship between ammunition supply and violence are suggested ways forward.
Background Perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) use firearms to injure, scare, and manipulate their partners. Abusers who have a firearm in their homes are more likely to threaten and/or kill their partner. To date, however, limited research documents the nature of IPV perpetrator firearm access or the prevalence of nonfatal firearm abuse behaviors. Methods Federal law restricts firearm access for IPV perpetrators in qualifying domestic violence protective order (DVPO) cases; thus, information about firearms should be disclosed during the DVPO process. We used secondary data from civil DVPO cases (n = 406) in North Carolina that were collected using a representative sampling strategy. Data were from DVPO case files and structured DVPO hearing observations. We conducted a content analysis to record IPV perpetrator access to guns and reported firearm abuse behaviors. We used a linear regression analysis to determine whether IPV perpetrator gun access was associated with higher levels of abuse. We also examined factors associated with perpetration of nonfatal firearm abuse. Results We found evidence of perpetrator firearm access in nearly half of all cases (46%, n = 108). Controlling for covariates, gun access was significantly associated with higher levels of reported IPV (b = 0.5, p < .001). Firearm abuse was reported in nearly one out of four cases (23.1%, n = 101), and often entailed spoken threats, displaying a gun, or holding a partner at gun point. The only factors associated with firearm abuse in the multivariate models were related to English language speaking/fluency. Conclusions Gun access should be considered an indicator for severe IPV. We must ensure that existing legal mechanisms to identify and restrict abuser access to firearms are fully implemented and enforced. Firearm abuse often manifests as non-physical coercive control which is traumatic and has the potential to escalate to homicide, even in the absence of past physical violence.
Understanding why different nations have different homicide and suicide rates has been of interest to scholars, policy makers and the general public for years. Multiple theories have been offered, related to the economy, presence of guns and even exposure to violence in video games. In the current study, several factors were considered in combination across a sample of 92 countries. These included income inequality (Gini index), Human Capital Index (education and employment), per capita gun ownership and per capita expenditure on video games. Results suggest that economic factors primarily were related to homicide and suicide cross‐nationally. Video game consumption was not a major indicative factor (other than a small negative relationship with homicides). More surprisingly, per capita gun ownership was not an indicator factor cross‐nationally. The results suggest that a focus on economic factors and income inequality are most likely to bear fruit regarding reduction of violence and suicide.
Firearm injuries are a serious public health problem for children and adolescents in the United States and even more of a problem in some low- and middle-income countries. A number of countries in Central and South America report extremely high rates of firearm death, though data in these countries are less reliable than data from high-income countries. Globally, there were more firearm homicides than firearm suicides among those 0–24 years old in 2016. Among high-income countries, the United States has the highest pediatric firearm death rates. It appears that a main reason for our relatively high firearm death rate is widespread firearm availability. Unfortunately, pediatric firearm injury prevention is still a topic about which little is known, not only for low- and middle-income countries but also for high-income nations. More research is needed on risk and protective factors specific to children and adolescents, and better data are needed especially for nonfatal gun injuries.
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Research on the role of firearms in violence and fatal events has focused heavily on American data and research. This implies certain limitations, since the United States is one of the Western countries with exceptionally high homicide and gun ownership rates. Thus, the American context offers only limited variance in the most prominent independent as well as dependent variables. International comparisons offer challenging new perspectives. This research is based on data on gun availability in private households, collected through the international victimization surveys of 1989, 1992, and 1996, and World Health Organization data on homicide and suicide from 21 countries. It updates and extends former research conducted on this issue, based on the surveys of 1989 and 1992. In addition, data from the International Crime Victimization Surveys were used on total and gun-related robbery and assault (including threats).
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Does gun ownership increase the likelihood that a person will commit a homicide? Findings from a recent case-control study (Kellermann et al. 1993) were interpreted as indicating that persons who lived in households with guns were 2.7 times as likely to become homicide victims as persons in households without guns. Problems with that study are identified, and a different approach is described. Survey data on a nationally representative sample of persons in prison for criminal homicide were compared with data on a nationally representative sample of the general population, in the first national case-control study of homicide. A logistic regression analysis was performed on the data, with the dependent variable measuring whether the subject was a killer, and the key independent variable being whether the person owned a gun. Control variables included age, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, income, education, marital status, region, veteran status, and whether the subject had children. Results indicated that gun ownership had a weak (odds ratio = 1.36) and unstable relationship with homicidal behavior, which was at least partly spurious. The promise and pitfalls of case-control research are discussed.
Objective. —To compare the risk of death and the risk of nonfatal injury during firearm-associated family and intimate assaults (FIAs) with the risks during non-firearm-associated FIAs.Design. —Records review of police incident reports of FIAs that occurred in 1984. Victim outcomes (death, nonfatal injury, no injury) and weapon involvement were examined for incidents involving only one perpetrator.Setting. —City of Atlanta, Ga, within Fulton County.Participants. —Stratified sample (n=142) of victims of nonfatal FIAs, drawn from seven nonfatal crime categories, plus all fatal victims (n=23) of FIAs.Main Outcome Measures. —Risk of death (vs nonfatal injury or no injury) during FIAs involving firearms, relative to other types of weapons; risk of nonfatal injury (vs all other outcomes, including death) during FIAs involving firearms, relative to other types of weapons.Results. —Firearm-associated FIAs were 3.0 times (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 10.0) more likely to result in death than FIAs involving knives or other cutting instruments and 23.4 times (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 78.6) more likely to result in death than FIAs involving other weapons or bodily force. Overall, firearmassociated FIAs were 12.0 times (95% confidence interval, 4.6 to 31.5) more likely to result in death than non-firearm-associated FIAs.Conclusions. —Strategies for limiting the number of deaths and injuries resulting from FIAs include reducing the access of potential FIA assailants to firearms, modifying firearm lethality through redesign, and establishing programs for primary prevention of violence among intimates.(JAMA. 1992;267:3043-3047)