How Many Gun Related Homicides In The US?

| February 27, 2013

The Facts… According To The FBI

According to FBI Uniform Crime Report data, in 2011 there were 8,583 homicides by firearms, out of 12,664 total murders. This means that more than two-thirds of the homicides in the United States involve a firearm.

6,220 of those homicides by firearm (72%) are known to have involved a handgun, though it’s likely that the number is closer to 7,631 or 88% [1].

The Facts… According To The CDC

Preliminary CDC Mortality data tells a slightly different story, however.

The CDC indicates the firearm homicide rate in 2011 to be 11,101 (3.6), the firearm accident rate to be 851 (0.3), and the firearm suicide rate to be 19,766 (6.3). Total deaths from all causes due to firearms in 2011 is 32,163, or 10.3 per 100,000.

There were also 55,544 non-fatal injuries in 2011 resulting from assaults involving guns — up from 53,738 in 2010 and 44,466 in 2009.

The gun injury rate for 2011 is the second highest in 11 years, adjusted for population.

Finally, the CDC reports that there were 4,852 non-firearm-related homicides committed in 2011, giving us a total of 15,953 intentional  homicides.

Who To Believe?

The CDC is generally considered by researchers to be the more accurate source for gun homicide numbers. Their data comes directly from the National Vital Statistics System, which collects death certificates that are required to be filed in every state.

The FBI, on the other hand, relies on voluntary reporting by state and local law enforcement agencies and as such often results in under-reporting.


According to the CDC, in 2011 there were 11,101 gun related homicides in the U.S., or 3.6 per 100,000. There were also 55,544 non-fatal injuries resulting from assaults involving guns.

FBI homicde numbers for the same year are lower at 8,583, but depend on voluntary reporting by local police departments. The CDC tracks actual death certificates.



  1. GUNFAQ: Murder weapons, 2011: Guns 68%, Knives 13%, Blunt objects 4%, Personal weapons 6%, Other 9%.
  2. FBI Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the United States, 2011
  3. CDC NVSR Mortality Data, Preliminary, 2011 (PDF)
  4. Chart: The U.S. has far more gun-related killings than any other developed country

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