New report offers overview of lethal gun violence in Great Lakes states

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new Violence Policy Center report released Tuesday offers an overview of lethal gun violence in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The study, called Gun Violence in the Great Lakes states, draws from VPC studies released in 2018 as well as additional  research focusing on the region, and offers for each state information on: overall gun death (suicides, homicides and unintentional deaths); homicide; suicide; black homicide victimization; females killed by males in the context of lethal domestic violence; and examples of non-self defense killings involving concealed handgun permit holders for the years 2016 2017 and 2018.

VPC executive director Josh Sugarmann states, "Although the pro-gun logjam that has stymied progress on the federal level has begun to buckle, the greatest opportunity for change today remains on the state level. Good data leads to good policy, and it's our hope that the information contained in this report will aid advocates, organizations and policymakers as they work in support of effective gun violence prevention measures."

Among the findings included in the report:

  • Indiana, Michigan and Ohio all had overall gun death rates higher than the U.S. national rate in 2016. Ohio's gun death rate increased by more than 50 percent since 2009.
  • Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio had overall homicide rates as well as firearm homicide rates that were higher than the national rates in 2016.
  • Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin had overall suicide rates as well as firearm suicide rates that were higher than the national rates in 2016, and Michigan had a firearm suicide rate that was higher than the national rate that year.
  • Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana were among the 10 states that had the highest black homicide victimization rates in 2015, and all six Great Lakes states had a black homicide victimization rate higher than the national average. Where the weapon could be identified, in each state guns were the most common weapon used: ranged from 78 percent of homicides in Minnesota to 94 percent of homicides in Illinois. The most common type of firearm identified was a handgun.
  • In each of the Great Lakes states in 2016 where the relationship was known, for women who were killed by men the number of females who knew their male killer was 95 percent or greater. That year, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin had a rate of females killed by males that was higher than the national average. In each state except for Illinois, the majority of homicides were committed with a gun. The most common type of firearm identified was a handgun.
  • From Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, 132 Michigan concealed handgun permit holders took their own lives. Michigan is one of the few states that releases regular reports detailing fatalities linked to concealed carry permit holders, although the reports do not detail the means employed in the suicide.