According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 8,855 total firearm-related homicides in the US, with 6,371 of those attributed to handguns. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there were 11,078 firearm-related homicides in the U.S. in 2010. The FBI breaks down the gun-related homicides in 2010 by weapon: 6,009 involved a handgun, 358 involved a rifle, and 1,939 involved an unspecified type of firearm. In 2005, 75% of the 10,100 homicides committed using firearms in the U.S. were committed using handguns, compared to 4% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and the rest with unspecified firearms.
In the U.S. in 2011, 67 percent of homicide victims were killed by a firearm: 66 percent of single-victim homicides and 79 percent of multiple-victim homicides. The
In the 19th century gun violence played a role in civil disorder such as the Haymarket riot. Homicide rates in cities such as Philadelphia were significantly lower in the 19th century than in modern times. During the 1980s and early 1990s, homicide rates surged in cities across the United States (see graphs at right). Handgun homicides accounted for nearly all of the overall increase in the homicide rate, from 1985 to 1993, while homicide rates involving other weapons declined during that time frame. The rising trend in homicide rates during the 1980s and early 1990s was most pronounced among lower income and especially unemployed males. Youths and Hispanic and African American males in the U.S. were the most represented, with the injury and death rates tripling for black males aged 13 through 17 and doubling for black males aged 18 through 24. The rise in crack cocaine use in cities across the U.S. is often cited as a factor for increased gun violence among youths during this time period.
Prevalence of homicide and violent crime is higher in statistical metropolitan areas of the U.S. than it is in non-metropolitan counties; the vast majority of the U.S. population lives in statistical metropolitan areas. In metropolitan areas, the homicide rate in 2013 was 4.7 per 100,000 compared with 3.4 in non-metropolitan counties. More narrowly, the rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter are identical in metropolitan counties and non-metropolitan counties. In U.S. cities with populations greater than 250,000, the mean homicide rate was 12.1 per 100,000. According to FBI statistics, the highest per capita rates of gun-related homicides in 2005 were in D.C. (35.4/100,000), Puerto Rico (19.6/100,000), Louisiana (9.9/100,000), and Maryland (9.9/100,000).
Homicide rates among 18- to 24-year-olds declined since 1993, but remain higher than they were prior to the 1980s.<> In 2005, the 17 through 24 age group remains significantly overrepresented in violent crime statistics, particularly homicides involving firearms. In 2005, 17- through 19-year-olds were 4.3% of the overall population of the U.S. This same age group accounted for 11.2% of those killed by firearm homicides. This age group also accounted for 10.6% of all homicide offenses. The 20- through 24-year-old age group accounted for 7.1% of the population, while accounting for 22.5% of those killed by firearm homicides. The 20 through 24 age group also accounted for 17.7% of all homicide offenses. Those under age 17 are not overrepresented in homicide statistics. In 2005, 13- through 16-year-olds accounted for 6% of the overall population of the U.S., but only accounted for 3.6% of firearm homicide victims, and 2.7% of overall homicide offenses.
People with a criminal record were also more likely to die as homicide victims. Between 1990 and 1994, 75% of all homicide victims age 21 and younger in the city of Boston had a prior criminal record. In Philadelphia, the percentage of those killed in gun homicides that had prior criminal records increased from 73% in 1985 to 93% in 1996. In Richmond, Virginia, the risk of gunshot injury is 22 times higher for those males involved with crime.
The likelihood that a death will result is significantly increased when either the victim or the attacker has a firearm. For example, the mortality rate for gunshot wounds to the heart is 84%, compared to 30% for people who sustain stab wounds to the heart.
The U.S.A. is ranked 3rd out of 45 developed nations in regards to the incidence of homicides committed with a firearm. Mexico and Estonia are ranked first and second. Russia, a g8 country, is ranked far higher. In a broader comparison of 218 countries the U.S.A. is ranked 111.In 2013 the United States' firearm-related death rate was 10.64 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants, a figure very close to Mexico's 11.17, although in Mexico firearm deaths are predominantly homicides whereas in the United States they are predominantly suicides. (Although Mexico has ostensibly strict gun laws, the laws restricting carry are often unenforced, and the laws restricting manufacture and sale are often circumvented by trafficking from the United States and other countries.) Canada and Switzerland each have much looser gun control regulation than the majority of developed nations, although significantly more than in the United States, and have firearm death rates of 2.22 and 2.91 per 100,000 citizens, respectively. By comparison Australia, which imposed sweeping gun control laws in response to the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, has a firearm death rate of 0.86 per 100,000, and in the United Kingdom the rate is 0.26.
Deadly mass shootings have resulted in considerable coverage by the media. These shootings have represented 1% of all deaths by gun between 1980 and 2008. Although mass shootings have been covered extensively in the media, mass shootings account for a small fraction of gun-related deaths and the frequency of these events had steadily declined between 1994 and 2007. Between 2007 and 2013, however, the rate of active shooter incidents per year in the US has increased. Hand guns figured in the Virginia Tech massacre, Binghamton shootings, 2009 Fort Hood shooting, Oikos University shooting, and 2011 Tucson shooting. The Aurora theater shooting and the Columbine High School massacre were committed by assailants armed with multiple weapons