NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Firearms Deaths Down For Fourth Straight Year

July 25, 2000

Gun-related deaths are declining in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such deaths fell steadily from 1994 to 1998. While federal officials and various groups have their own pet theories to explain the decline, CDC statisticians say the numbers only show the decrease, not the reasons behind it.

  • Among the population as a whole, 30,708 people died of gunshot wounds in 1998 -- a 5 percent drop from 1997 and a 22 percent decrease since 1993.
  • The number of persons under 20 years old dying from gunshot wounds decreased by 10 percent between 1997 and 1998.
  • Over 92 percent of the 7,954 firearms deaths among people up to age 24 were among 15 to 24 year olds -- with nearly 94 percent of the deaths due to suicides or homicides.
  • Accidents accounted for only 3.5 percent of all gun-related deaths.

A spokesperson for the National Rifle Association challenged the youth category as too broad -- observing that many of the so-called "children" are not children at all, but are violent juvenile offenders.

Source: Lisa Ing, "Child Gun Deaths Down Since '94," Washington Times, July 25, 2000.


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