University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Firearm Mortality, 2000-2014

Wen-Jan Tuan, MS, MPH; John J. Frey III, MD

WMJ. 2017;116(4):194-200.

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Background: Despite low firearm mortality rates in Wisconsin, overall firearm fatalities continue to rise in recent years. In 2013, the statewide age-adjusted death rate due to firearms was 9.6 per 100,000 persons, the highest mark since the new millennium. this raises not only public safety concerns, but also raises questions regarding ongoing gun violence.

Objectives: To describe the population and geographic characteristics of firearm mortality rates on population and geographic characteristics in Wisconsin.

Methods: Mortality data for firearm deaths caused by suicides, homicides and other death intent were obtained from the Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH) query system from 2000 through 2014. The probability of firearm fatality was analyzed through log-linear Poisson regression models to assess the variations of firearm mortality risks in relation to a person’s sex, age, race/ethnicity, and region.

Results: Firearm violence is responsible for 14% of injury-related deaths in Wisconsin. Seventy-two percent of firearm-related deaths were attributed to suicides; the majority of decedents were white men aged 45 years or older. The proportion of homicides by gun to all homicides increased from 63% in 2000 to 72% in 2014. Disproportionally high firearm homicides were found among black men aged 18 to 34 years in southeastern Wisconsin, accounting for 38% of the entire gun-related murder deaths.

Conclusion: Our study shows that the association of the demographic and geographic characteristics with mortality rates differs among suicides, homicides and the other intent. Understanding characteristics associated with firearm related-deaths is the first step toward addressing them.

Author Affiliations: Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (Tuan, Frey).
Corresponding Author: Wen-Jan Tuan, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, 1100 Delaplaine Ct, Madison, WI 53715-1896; phone 608.263.4550; fax 608.265.5813; email
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Dr Mindy A. Smith for editing assistance.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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