Trends in Firearm Usage in Homicides and Suicides in Bexar County Texas from 1982 to 2004

GVPedia Study Database

Trends in Firearm Usage in Homicides and Suicides in Bexar County Texas from 1982 to 2004

Category: Homicide, Suicide|Journal: The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology (full text)|Author: D Molina, V DiMaio|Year: 2008

Numerous studies and epidemiological reports have been published which analyze firearm deaths by the type of firearm, the majority of which focus on a small time span and categorize weapon types by handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Few studies have focused on the caliber of weapon or long term trends in weapon use. We designed a retrospective study to analyze firearm deaths occurring between 1982 and 2004, considering manner of death (homicide versus suicide), firearm type, and caliber of the weapon. We found that the homicides by firearm steadily declined during the study period, mirroring the overall homicide rate during this period, whereas suicide by firearm rate remained steady. Handguns were the most commonly used weapon for both homicides and suicides during the 22-year period examined. Overall, the .38/.357 and the .22 caliber were the most commonly used handguns. The rate of .357/.38 handgun usage in homicides declined sharply over the study period whereas the use of the 9mm rose steadily, overtaking the .38/.357 in the late 1990s. The use of small caliber handguns steadily decreased in both homicidal and suicidal shootings whereas the .380 and .45 caliber handguns steadily increased in both homicidal and suicidal shootings.

Share