Firearm availability and female homicide victimization rates among 25 populous high-income countries

Category: Firearm Availability, Homicide, International, Women|Journal: Journal of American Medical Women's Association (full text)|Author: D Hemenway, M Miller, T Shinoda-Tagawa|Posted On: January 01,2002

OBJECTIVE:

to determine the association between firearm availability and female homicide victimization among high-income countries.

METHODS:

Data were assembled for the most recent available year (1994-1999) from the official reports of the ministries of health for those countries that had more than 2 million inhabitants and were dassified as high income by the World Bank. Twenty-five nations provided sufficient information for the analysis. Rates of female victimization from homicide, firearm homicide, and nonfirearm homicide were compared with a validated proxy for household firearm ownership (the percentage of total national suicides that are committed with firearms). Possible confounding variables included in the analysis were the percentage of the population living in urban areas and income inequality.

RESULTS:

The United States is an outlier. It had the highest level of household firearm ownership and the highest female homicide rate. The United States accounted for 32% of the female population in these high-income countries, but for 70% of all female homicides and 84% of all female firearm homicides. Female homicide victimization rates were significantly associated with firearm availability largely because of the United States.

CONCLUSION:

Among high-income countries, where firearms are more available, more women are homicide victims. Women in the United States are at higher risk of homicide victimization than are women in any other high-income country.

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