Gun Violence

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How Prevalent is Gun Violence in America?

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 467,321 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011.[1] In the same year, data collected by the FBI show that firearms were used in 68 percent of murders, 41 percent of robbery offenses and 21 percent of aggravated assaults nationwide.[2]

Most homicides in the United States are committed with firearms, especially handguns.[3]

Homicides committed with firearms peaked in 1993 at 17,075, after which the figure steadily fell, reaching a low of 10,117 in 1999. Gun-related homicides increased slightly after that, to a high of 11,547 in 2006, before falling again to 10,869 in 2008.[4]

Find data on homicides by weapon type from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Gangs and Gun-Related Homicide

Gun-related homicide is most prevalent among gangs and during the commission of felony crimes. In 1980, the percentage of homicides caused by firearms during arguments was about the same as from gang involvement (about 70 percent), but by 1993, nearly all gang-related homicides involved guns (95 percent), whereas the percentage of gun homicides related to arguments remained relatively constant. The percentage of gang-related homicides caused by guns fell slightly to 92 percent in 2008, but the percentage of homicides caused by firearms during the commission of a felony rose from about 60 percent to about 74 percent from 1980 to 2005.[5]

See Youths, Gangs and Guns

Nonfatal Firearm-Related Crime

Nonfatal firearm-related crime has fallen significantly in recent years, from almost 1.3 million incidents in 1994 to a low of 331,618 incidents in 2008. Since then it has risen; in 2011 there were 414,562 incidents.[6]

As a percentage of all violent incidents (i.e., rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault), between 1993 and 2011, nonfatal gun crime has ranged from a high of 8 percent to a low of 5 percent. In 2011, firearm crimes comprised 8 percent of all violent crimes.[7]

Nonfatal Firearm Violence, 1993-2011
YearFirearm incidentsFirearm victimsFirearm crime rateFirearm crimes as a percent of all violent incidents
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1993-2011.


[note 1], [note 6], [note 7] Bureau of Justice Statistics, Nonfatal Firearm Violence, 1993-2011, special tabulation from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey, provided to NIJ January 2013.

[note 2] Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Crime in the United States, 2011."

[note 3], [note 4], [note 5] Cooper, Alexia, and Erica Smith, Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 16, 2011.

Date Modified: February 26, 2019