How the Firearms Industry Markets Guns to Asian Americans

The Real-World Lethal Impact of Guns on the AAPI Community

Not surprisingly, the firearms industry and its financial partners in the National Rifle Association never acknowledge the harm guns inflict on our nation, and on communities of color in particular. In 2019 alone, nearly 40,000 lives were lost in gun homicides, suicides, fatal unintentional shootings, and other firearm deaths.

There are two major sources of national lethal victimization information — public health and criminal justice records:

  • The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains national public health data as recorded by death certificates and compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The CDC collects mortality data that includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths. While the CDC data is the most comprehensive available to measure total fatal victimization in each category as well as age and race, it lacks the additional information categories contained in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report for homicides.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice is the repository of national criminal justice records. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) compiles data on reported crime, including homicide, through its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR), which is a subset of the UCR. Homicide-related information that is unique to the SHR includes: the age of both the victim and offender; the circumstances surrounding the homicide; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and, more detailed information on the type of weapon used, including whether a gun used was a handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

While the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report offers the most information available on homicide at the national level, the data is less complete than public health data from the CDC.

Recognizing the strengths and limitations of each of these two separate data sets, this study will utilize 2019 CDC data (the most recent available at time of writing) for information on Asian/Pacific Islander homicide, suicide, and overall gun death; leading causes of death; and, the use of firearms in homicide and suicide. It will utilize 2019 FBI data (the most recent available at time of writing) for information on Asian/Pacific Islander homicide victimization not contained in the CDC data.

Public Health Data. Using this data for Asian/Pacific Islanders we will: rank the leading causes of death, including homicide and suicide; detail the number of homicides and suicides, sex, and the victimization rates; and, present historical data on Asian/Pacific Islander homicide, suicide, and overall gun death.

Criminal Justice Data. Using this information, we will detail for Asian/Pacific Islanders: the types of firearms used in homicide; the relationship of homicide victims to their offenders; and, the circumstances of the homicides.

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