Nearly 17,000 Hispanics/Latinos Killed With Guns in California Since 1999, New Study Reports

For Release: Thursday, February 21, 2019

Comprehensive New Study Includes Recommendations to Improve Data Collection to Aid Violence Prevention Efforts

Para la versión en español haga “click” aquí.

Washington, DC — Nearly 17,000 Hispanics/Latinos were killed with guns in California from 1999 through 2016, according to Lethal Hispanic/Latino Firearm Victimization in California, a new 91-page study from the Violence Policy Center (VPC). [For English and Spanish language versions of the study, its key findings and recommendations, and related materials, see]

Funded by the Hope and Heal Fund, a collaborative fund to stop gun violence in California, the study details the disproportionate impact of lethal gun violence on Hispanics/Latinos in California, most notably the 10- to 24-year-old age group. It also presents in-depth interviews with California experts on ways that data collection in the state can be improved, especially in terms of better identifying race and ethnicity and integrating different data sets to improve their utility, to offer a more complete picture of the full impact of gun death and injury on residents and aid violence-prevention efforts.

The study also presents lethal gun violence information for other races/ethnicities in California — white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native – and contains numerous historic tables detailing firearm mortality among these groups.

VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “For Latinos in California, especially young Latinos, gun violence is an ongoing crisis. For decades, California has been the nation’s leader not only in identifying effective approaches to reducing gun violence, but in gathering the data necessary to help us better understand its many impacts. To ensure that progress continues to be made, Californians working to reduce violence in their communities need the best information available, not only to better understand the issues they’re facing, but also identify the most effective violence prevention strategies.”

Among the study’s findings:

–From 1999 to 2016, more than 16,600 Hispanics died from guns in California: 12,912 in firearm homicides, 3,402 in firearm suicides, and 319 in unintentional firearm deaths. Of these deaths, guns killed 15,222 Hispanic males and 1,411 Hispanic females. Forty-five percent (7,485) of the victims were 10 to 24 years old.

–From 1999 to 2016, nearly three quarters of all Hispanic homicide victims were killed with a firearm (74 percent). For Hispanic homicide victims ages 10 to 24, 85 percent were killed with firearms.

–In 2016, 921 Hispanics were killed by firearms in California in homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths. More than a third (322) of the victims were 10 to 24 years old.

–In 2016, the Hispanic firearm homicide victimization rate was 4.40 per 100,000, more than three times the white firearm homicide victimization rate of 1.45 per 100,000. For Hispanic victims ages 10 to 24, the firearm homicide victimization rate was 6.63 per 100,000, more than four times the white firearm homicide victimization rate for this age group of 1.56 per 100,000.

–In 2016, among Hispanic female victims, for homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 91 percent of Hispanic female victims (70 out of 77) were murdered by someone they knew. Twenty-seven of these females (39 percent) were killed with guns. Of the 70 Hispanic female victims who knew their offenders, 44 victims (63 percent) were intimate acquaintances of the offender. Of the Hispanic female intimates murdered, 21 were killed with guns (48 percent).

The study concludes, “Because of limitations in data collection, the true scale of the impact of gun violence on Hispanic men, women, boys, and girls in California is not fully known. Comprehensive, consistent, and reliable information from a broad range of sources is necessary to ensure that violence prevention policies work to save lives, protect families, and ensure healthy communities. This is true not only for Hispanics in California, but for all residents of the state.”

Lethal Hispanic/Latino Firearm Victimization in California utilizes data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as information maintained by the California Department of Justice for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report.

For the English language version of the study, see:

For the Spanish language version of the study, see:

For the English language version of the study’s key findings and recommendations see:

For the Spanish language version of the study’s key findings and recommendations see:

For all materials related to the study in English and Spanish, see

Rates are calculated by dividing the total number of relevant deaths by the relevant population in California and multiplying the result by 100,000.

The definitions used in Lethal Hispanic/Latino Firearm Victimization in California are dictated by the terms utilized by government agencies in the collection of information. The Violence Policy Center recognizes the role played by language and the importance of identity language. We understand that the population included within the term Hispanic may not identify with this label. While this term is used throughout this research to remain consistent with the data as reported, our intent is not to reiterate or endorse any implications that may accompany it. Hopefully, in the near future data collection will become more sensitive and responsive to relevant terminology and identity language, such as Latino/a or Latinx.


The Violence Policy Center is a national nonprofit educational organization that conducts research and public education on violence in America and provides information and analysis to policymakers, journalists, advocates, and the general public. Follow the Violence Policy Center on Facebook and follow @VPCinfo on Twitter.

The Hope and Heal Fund is the only collaborative fund committed to preventing gun violence in California. The Hope and Heal Fund invests in innovative, strategic and evidence-based solutions to prevent gun violence, by harnessing the collective power of individuals, communities, government and philanthropy to ensure homes and communities in California are safe and free from gun death, injury and trauma. For more information about the Hope and Heal Fund, please visit and follow @HopeandHealFund on Twitter.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
(202) 822-8200 x104