FIGURE 3-9 Firearm-related suicides by selected age groupings, 1981-1999.

Firearms and Accidents

Firearm-related accidental deaths represent a small fraction of all firearm-related deaths, but unintentional injuries represent a sizable proportion of all nonfatal injuries resulting from firearms—behind only the number caused by violent assaults.

In 1999 there were 824 firearm-related accidental deaths—less than 1 percent of the 97,860 total accidental deaths for that year—corresponding to an accidental firearm-related death rate of 0.30 per 100,000.

Rates of firearm-related accidental deaths have been declining since the mid-1960s (Ikeda et al., 1997; Frattaroli et al., 2002). Since 1981, the firearm-related accidental death rate has declined 63 percent from 0.83 to 0.30 per 100,000. The male rate of firearm-related accidental deaths is much higher than the female rate. In 1999, males accounted for 88 percent of accidental firearm-related deaths; however, both males and females have contributed roughly proportionally to the declining trend. In 1999, the fatal

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