Firearms: Crime: Homicide by Age

The overall number of homicides by firearm separated by age of offender.
The overall number of homicides by firearm separated by age of offender.   

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

New Boston Program Aims to Lower Gang Violence
Published Friday, July 17th, 2009

Street Safe is a project that hopes to build upon the once successful program called the Boston Miracle, which reduced youth violence in the late 1990’s. SafeStreet is made up of 13 men — half of which are previous offenders — with a five-year mission and $20 million initiative aiming to prove that ex-convicts know best how to work the streets and protect kids from what they call “the life” or gang life. Many of the 13-year-olds children (gangs routinely target boys as young as 12 to carry drugs and guns) who are now a part of the program would have had to choose between making the best of their athletic and academic potential or follow their friends, brothers, and fathers into “the life.” Boston Police are also on board with the program as they arrange games between youth and police in an effort to promote community policing and cut gang influence.

According to the Department of Justice, the overall percent of homicides in the US involving guns by victims’ age skyrockets from birth to 18 years. After the peak, the range of deaths slowly decreases till age 89 where there is a spike in gunshot victimhood. The number of offenders in their teens — 14-17 — has returned to a previous held range of 1500 offenders annually from a height in 1994 of 4000 homicide offenders.

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Repeal of Tiahrt Amendment Called for by Coalition
Published Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Much debate is going on in the gun and policing worlds regarding the need to repeal the 2004 Tiahrt Amendment, which was one of the agenda items President Obama discussed in his Senate and Presidential campaigns. The restriction placed on police from the Tiahrt Amendment prevents the federal government from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory inspections to see if guns they possess are lost or stolen. Also, the President’s budget retains the rule regarding the destruction of federal background checks, which are required for gun buyers within 24 hours. Major proponents for the repeal include the National Public Safety Coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, headed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City who believes that these restrictions limit law enforcement of gun sales and crime.

The use of firearms to commit murder actually rose from 9385 murders in 2004 to 10086 in 2007. Separated by type of gun, murders by handguns has been reduced and replaced by other types of guns such as assault rifles. After a short decline, law enforcement deaths have risen from the use of both handguns and assault rifles. Nonfatal firearms incidents are also on the rise again after a steady decline. Crimes committed with firearms besides murder remained at a steady level since the creation of the Brady Laws; this includes crimes committed while under the age of 18—the age at which many states allow at least rifle purchase.

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Murder-Suicide with Unlicensed Handgun
Published Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

California, who has witnessed four similar scenarios in the last year, has seen its fifth murder-suicide of a family this week. Apparently, both mother and father had been fired—not laid off—from their jobs at a local hospital. Despondent, the father shot their five children and their mother before killing himself. At the time, the father did not have a license for the handgun he used on the family. He had applied for and gotten a license, which expired in 2007, as part of his old job as hospital security. According to the FBI, this type of crime, Murder-Suicide, is not documented due to the difficulty in identifying the suicide as suicide and not murder.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, of the homicides in 2007 for which the type of weapon was specified, 72.9% of the offenses involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 87.8% of the firearms specified. Plus, 22.2% of victims were killed by family members. The rate at which handguns are used in the crime of murder has remained fairly flat; however, the rate for robbery and physical assault with a handgun has recently risen in 2005 between 12,000 and 16,000 incidents respectively.

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Learn More

U.S. Department Of Justice: Juveniles as Offenders -
Here you will find information on juvenile homicide offending, time-of-day patterns for juvenile violent offending, trends in the rate of serious violent offending by juveniles, and comparisons between juvenile and adult offenders.

Take Action

Protect Safe Neighborhoods -
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful.