Gun Suicide and Homicide, Young Black Males

Thomas B. Marvell, JUSTEC Research

This is a study of the relationship between suicide and homicide of black males 15-24 years old over the past 20 years. Although homicides outnumber suicides ten to one, the two death types had almost identical trends. They rose through the mid-1990s and have dropped since then. The rise and fall are due almost solely to gun homicides and suicides. The purpose of the research is to sort out the reasons for the similarity in trends. There are many possibilities: a general increase in gun availability might have caused both to rise, guns obtained to commit murder might have been used for suicides, the rise in suicides might have been due to misclassifications of gun homicides as gun suicides, or the apparent relationship might be coincidence.

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Updated 05/20/2006