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Firearm Deaths In America: Can We Learn From the Almost Half-million Lives Lost?
Shelby Resnick, Randi N Smith, Jessica Beard, Daniel N Holena, Patrick M Reilly, C. William Schwab, Mark J Seamon
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

OBJECTIVES: National campaigns have focused on decreasing mortality in firearm victims, but research on preventing firearm violence itself remains negligible. We sought to determine 1) if restrictive gun legislation correlates with decreased firearm death rates (FDR), and 2) whether restrictive legislation is related to decreased FDR in all population subsets.
METHODS: Demographic and intent data on FDR (1999-2013) was collected from the CDC WISQARS database and compared with Brady Center state firearm legislation rankings. Least restrictive states (Brady “F”) were compared to more restrictive states (Brady “A-D”) during 3 distinct periods (1999-2003/2004-2008/2009-2013). Our primary endpoint, FDR, was evaluated with Student’s t-test and p≤0.05 was significant.
RESULTS: During 1999-2013, 462,043 firearm deaths occurred at a rate which was unchanged during the 3 measured periods (10.89±3.99/100,000; 10.71±3.93/100,000; 11.14±3.91/100,000; p>0.05). Within each period, “F” states had greater accidental, pediatric and adult suicide, Caucasian and overall FDR than “A-D” states (Table, all p≤0.05). Conversely, no correlation was seen, during any of the 3 time periods, with either homicide or Black FDR—population subsets which accounted for 42.1% of all firearm deaths.
CONCLUSIONS: Restrictive firearm legislation is associated with decreased pediatric, accidental, suicide and overall FDR, but homicide and Black American FDR appear unaffected by restrictive measures. Adequate firearm injury prevention funding and research are essential initial steps towards creating effective legislation that protects all segments of the American population.
Brady “A-D” statesBrady “F” statesp-value
1999-2003
All Firearm 10.00 ± 3.6315.57 ± 2.06<0.001
Accidental0.27 ± 0.180.71 ± 0.19<0.001
Pediatric (<14yrs)0.75 ± 0.531.36 ± 0.750.06
Suicide6.40 ± 2.5110.09 ± 1.930.001
Homicide 3.12 ± 1.734.45 ± 3.030.09
White9.24 ± 3.5414.77 ± 1.72<0.001
Black16.88 ± 8.1017.99 ± 10.300.78
2004-2008
All Firearm7.49 ± 3.4511.85 ± 3.460.001
Accidental0.11 ± 0.090.28 ± 0.230.010
Pediatric (<14yrs)0.35 ± 0.310.71 ± 0.470.003
Suicide3.57 ± 1.767.94 ± 2.14<0.001
Homicide3.63 ± 1.833.36 ± 2.230.66
White5.83 ± 2.6111.09 ± 3.13<0.001
Black16.70 ± 8.9614.42 ± 9.040.44
2009-2013
All Firearm 8.42 ± 3.1313.64 ± 2.71<0.001
Accidental0.12 ± 0.120.30 ± 0.19<0.001
Pediatric (<14yrs)0.44 ± 0.310.83 ± 0.540.003
Suicide5.24 ± 2.249.53 ± 2.12<0.001
Homicide2.86 ± 1.633.50 ± 2.180.24
White8.60 ± 3.1713.81 ± 2.70<0.001
Black14.92 ± 8.0612.79 ± 9.240.39


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