For Release: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Vast Majority of Missouri Black Homicide Victims Killed with Guns, State’s Black Homicide Victimization Rate of 34.72 Per 100,000 is Seven Times National Overall Homicide Rate of 4.76 per 100,000
Washington, DC–Missouri suffers the worst black homicide victimization rate in the nation, yet this weekend in St. Louis the National Rifle Association (NRA) will hold its annual celebration of guns at its annual meeting and firearms industry gun exposition.
According to the January 2012 Violence Policy Center (VPC) study Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2009 Homicide Data, (vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide12.pdf), Missouri ranked first in the nation for black homicide victimization with a rate of 34.72 per 100,000. The study uses 2009 unpublished Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data, the most recent comprehensive state-by-state data available. Missouri also ranked first in the nation for black homicide victimization in 2008, with a rate of 39.90 per 100,000.
In 2009, 87 percent of black homicide victims in Missouri were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 65 percent were killed with handguns.
VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “The NRA and gun industry are joined at the hip. One need look no further than the gun industry trade show that accompanies the NRA’s annual meeting to see proof of that–let alone the millions of dollars that the industry gives to the NRA. They work together to pass laws to counter declining gun ownership with no concern for the tens of thousands of lives terminated annually by their lethal marketing. Their vision of an America where virtually anyone can carry a gun anywhere and is free to shoot first and ask questions later has led to the epidemic of gun violence that is devastating black teens and adults in Missouri and across the nation.”
For the year 2009–
- Missouri’s black homicide victimization rate of 34.72 per 100,000 was seven times the national overall homicide rate of 4.76 per 100,000. There were 239 black homicide victims in Missouri. Of these, 206 were male and 33 were female.
- For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 87 percent of black victims (200 out of 229) were killed with guns. Of these, 65 percent (129 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were 63 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 12 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, five victims killed by bodily force, and eight victims killed by a blunt object.
- For homicides involving black victims for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 76 percent of black victims (63 out of 83) were murdered by someone they knew. Twenty victims were killed by strangers.
- For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 64 percent (59 out of 92) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 80 percent (47 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.