Violence Policy Center (VPC) Releases New Study, Hispanics and Firearms Violence

For Release:  Tuesday, May 8, 2001

VPC Joined by Members of Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Leading Hispanic Organizations

Washington, DC The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Hispanics and Firearms Violence, a comprehensive overview of the effects of gun violence on Hispanic communities on both the national and regional levels. Joining the VPC at a Capitol Hill press conference were U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Hilda Solis (D-CA), as well as representatives of leading national Hispanic organizations. The 23-page VPC study presents all available information from national sources analyzing Hispanics and firearms, including information on homicides, domestic violence, nonfatal firearm injuries, and suicides. The study also analyzes information from three geographic regions with large Hispanic populations and uniquely comprehensive data: the states of California and Texas, and the city of Chicago.

Karen Brock, MPH, VPC health policy analyst and study author, states, “Gun violence has a devastating effect on Hispanic communities throughout our nation. This study is a first step in helping reveal these problems and identifying long-needed solutions.”

The study, with numerous full color charts, is available in both English and Spanish and is available on the VPC’s web site located at Among the study’s findings:

  • Although Americans of Hispanic ethnicity are disproportionately affected by gun violence when compared to the nation as a whole, because of severe limitations in data-gathering systems, the full scale of gun violence on Hispanic communities is rarely discussed.
  • Only 11 percent of Hispanics own guns, compared to 16 percent of blacks and 27 percent of whites. Yet Hispanics are murdered with firearms at rates second only to blacks.
  • Firearms homicide is the leading cause of gun death for Hispanics.
  • In 1997, the total firearm injury rate (both fatal and nonfatal) for Hispanics was nearly three times higher than the rate for whites.
  • In California, in 1998, handguns were used in 70 percent of all Hispanic homicides.
  • In Texas, in 1998, nearly 15 percent of Hispanic gun homicide victims were 18 years of age or younger.
  • In Chicago, a 29-year study revealed that guns were used in 62.6 percent of Hispanic-on-Hispanic intimate partner homicides, the highest usage among all intra-racial intimate partner homicides.
  • The gun industry, stating that it “must become less racist to survive in the 21st century,” has targeted Hispanics, and other racial minorities as a “largely untapped market.”

Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) states, “The Violence Policy Center’s report makes it clear that policies to enhance gun control and to educate the public about gun violence in this country must include the Latino community. As Latinos become the majority in key areas of our country, the adverse impact of gun violence and the resulting loss of human potential in the Hispanic community will affect the future of our entire nation.”



About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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