Earlier this month, Pew Research Center released a report tracking the trajectory of firearm-related homicides over the last 20 years, finding that the overall rate of murders committed with guns has declined from a national rate of 7 deaths per 100,000 in 1993 to just 3.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. The drop-off constitutes a 49 percent decrease in gun-related crime deaths, with current gun homicide rates in the United States at their lowest levels since the early 1960s.
Not only has the gun homicide rate dwindled over the last two decades, but researchers say that the victimization rate for non-lethal firearm crimes, such as assaults and robberies, decreased by three-quarters from 1993 to 2011, while the general violent, non-homicide victimization rate — with or without firearms — decreased by 72 percent over the same timeframe.
However, the report finds that most Americans do not know that firearm-related crimes are on the downturn. A study conducted in March revealed that 56 percent of those surveyed thought the number of gun crimes committed annually are higher now than two decades ago.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tallied up a little over 11,000 firearm-related homicides in 2010 — an almost 40 percent decrease in total gun murders compared to 1993 estimates.
According to Pew Researchers, four-out-of-five firearm murder victims in the United States are male; with individuals aged 18-to-40 making up nearly seven-out-of-10 gun homicide victims in the nation.
Although constituting just 10 percent of the total national populace, young adults were found to represent a disproportionate number of gun murder victims, with researchers finding that in 2010, individuals aged 18-to-24 represented nearly a third of all U.S. firearm homicide fatalities.
Additionally, a disproportionate number of gun murder victims are African-American, researchers say. Despite representing only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, blacks made up 55 percent of all firearm homicide fatalities in 2010.