The uprisings in some Arab states during the past several years developed into armed conflicts. Therefore, the incidence of violent
crimes has become more common with no reliable data on their patterns. The present study aimed to estimate the magnitude of that
problem by studying the frequency and pattern of firearm deaths in Tripoli, Libya.
A retrospective descriptive study of autopsy cases of firearm deaths was conducted. The data was retrieved from medico-legal
reports of cases that were referred to the Forensic Medicine Department of the Judicial Expertise and Research Center, Ministry of justice,
Tripoli, Libya during two years from the 1st of January 2014 to the end of December 2015. Structured data sheets were produced.
Out of 4,342 unnatural deaths that were autopsied, 774 cases (17.82 %) were due to firearms. Males were commonly targeted.
The mean age of victims was 31.7 ± 11 years with significant predominance in the middle age group. Incidence of firearm deaths in
non-Libyans increased in 2015 to 8.5%. Homicidal cases represented 92.12% of cases. There was a significant relationship between
manner of firing and sex (p ≤ 0.001). In 95.9% of cases, the firing was from a far range. Rifled weapons were used in 98.32% of cases.
Head and neck were targeted in 30.8% of cases.
There is a high incidence of illegal firearm use and firearm related deaths in Libya. Societal and international efforts are needed
to decrease the illicit use and trafficking of such weapons.