Factors Associated with State Variations in Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Deaths

Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Journal of Community Health (Impact Factor: 1.28). 08/2004; 29(4):271-83. DOI: 10.1023/B:JOHE.0000025326.89365.5c
Source: PubMed


This study examined the relationship of 16 variables with homicide, suicide, and unintentional firearm deaths. This cross-sectional analysis, using adjusted partial correlation coefficients, found that state-level firearm homicide rates significantly varied by the prevalence of firearms and by percent of the population which was African American. Whereas, state-level variations in firearm suicide mortality significantly varied by firearm prevalence, per capita alcohol consumption, percent of the population which was African American, and level of urbanization. None of the variables were significantly (p < or = .05) related to state-level variations in unintentional firearm mortality. Furthermore, state gun laws had only a limited effect on firearm-related homicide deaths. Although the current study cannot determine causation, firearm mortality in its various forms is most commonly related to the prevalence of firearms and the percent of the population that is African American.

9 Reads
    • "the president of the United States called for research on firearms to inform federal policy decisions that might reduce firearms-related homicide, including legislation designed to limit firearms availability. Numerous cross-sectional studies indicate that a higher prevalence of firearm ownership in a region is correlated with higher firearm-related and total homicide rates (Seitz 1972;Lester 1987Lester , 1990Lester , 1993Kaplan and Geling 1998;Miller et al. 2002aMiller et al. , 2002bMiller et al. , 2002cMiller et al. , 2007Hepburn and Hemenway 2004;Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.Murnan et al. 2004;Price et al. 2004;Ruddell and Mays 2005;Cook and Ludwig 2006;Rosenfeld et al. 2007;Fleegler et al. 2013;Siegel et al. 2013Siegel et al. , 2014aSiegel et al. , 2014bMonuteaux et al. 2015). However, it was recently established that the prevalence of firearm ownership in a state is only correlated with certain types of homicides (Siegel et al. 2014a). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Femicide is an important but understudied public health and criminal justice issue. The majority of femicides in the United States are perpetrated with a firearm, and policies that may reduce firearm-related homicides are now being considered at federal and state levels. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of data on firearm ownership and homicide rates in general, and there is an even more severe lack of data on this topic as it pertains to femicide specifically. This is the first study to examine the relationship between firearm ownership and total and gender-specific, stranger versus nonstranger firearm, and total homicide rates across all 50 states during the 33-year period from 1981 through 2013, while controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, urbanization, poverty, unemployment, income, education, income inequality, divorce rate, alcohol use, nonviolent crime rate, hate crime rate, suicide rate, and incarceration rate. This study expands upon previous work by using a new and improved proxy for state-level firearm ownership and controlling for state-specific factors that could potentially confound the association between firearm ownership and homicide rates. Results demonstrate that in states where a greater proportion of the public owns firearms, there are more homicides committed, more firearm-related homicides committed, and in particular more nonstranger firearm-related homicides committed, controlling for numerous other factors that could cause spurious associations. In bivariate analyses, the strength of the association between firearm ownership rate and nonstranger firearm-related homicide rate is approximately equivalent for males and females; however, the percentage of variance in the homicide rate explained by firearm ownership is substantially higher for females (41%) compared with males (1.5%). This means that the rate of female nonstranger homicide in a state can be predicted well simply by using the prevalence of firearm ownership in that state. In controlled analyses, we found that, for each 10 percentage point increase in state-level firearm ownership in a state, the female firearm-related homicide rate increases by 10.2%, the female nonstranger homicide rate increases by 7.8%, and the overall female homicide rate increases by 7.3%. There is a specific risk of nonstranger, firearm-related femicide associated with the prevalence of firearm ownership in a state.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • Source
    • "A second possibility is that the gun culture in states with permissive gun laws affects the wiliness to shoot possible perpetrators of a crime in a way that affects Black targets more than White targets. On the surface, this makes sense because states with more permissive gun laws also have more extrajudicial shootings of racial and ethnic minorities (Price et al., 2004 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The longstanding issue of extrajudicial police shootings of racial and ethnic minority members has received unprecedented interest from the general public in the past year. To better understand this issue, researchers have examined racial shooter biases in the laboratory for more than a decade; however, shooter biases have been operationalized in multiple ways in previous studies with mixed results within and across measures. We meta-analyzed 42 studies, investigating five operationalizations of shooter biases (reaction time with/without a gun, false alarms, shooting sensitivity, and shooting threshold) and relevant moderators (e.g., racial prejudice, state level gun laws). Our results indicated that relative to White targets, participants were quicker to shoot armed Black targets (d av = −.13, 95% CI [−.19, −.06]), slower to not shoot unarmed Black targets (d av = .11, 95% CI [.05, .18), and more likely to have a liberal shooting threshold for Black targets (d av = −.19, 95% CI [−.37, −.01]). In addition, we found that in states with permissive (vs. restrictive) gun laws, the false alarm rate for shooting Black targets was higher and the shooting threshold for shooting Black targets was lower than for White targets. These results help provide critical insight into the psychology of race-based shooter decisions, which may have practical implications for intervention (e.g., training police officers) and prevention of the loss of life of racial and ethnic minorities.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
  • Source
    • "However, one study has a weak design, while the other does not capture the most relevant types of firearms regulations. Price et al. [21] use cross-sectional state data for 1999 to perform a simple partial correlation analysis between several types of gun control laws and suicide rates. Their results suggest that gun control laws were not significantly related to suicide in 1999, even after controlling for firearm prevalence. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To empirically assess the impact of firearm regulation on male suicides. A negative binomial regression model was applied by using a panel of state level data for the years 1995-2004. The model was used to identify the association between several firearm regulations and male suicide rates. Our empirical analysis suggest that firearms regulations which function to reduce overall gun availability have a significant deterrent effect on male suicide, while regulations that seek to prohibit high risk individuals from owning firearms have a lesser effect. Restricting access to lethal means has been identified as an effective approach to suicide prevention, and firearms regulations are one way to reduce gun availability. The analysis suggests that gun control measures such as permit and licensing requirements have a negative effect on suicide rates among males. Since there is considerable heterogeneity among states with regard to gun control, these results suggest that there are opportunities for many states to reduce suicide by expanding their firearms regulations.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Health Policy
Show more