According to findings by the Minnesota Public Radio News and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans in Minnesota are 12 times more likely to be the victim of a homicide by firearm than Caucasians. The report also found that whites are much more likely to commit suicide with a gun than black Minnesotans.
The findings were first reported on Minnesota Public Radio after analysts looked into gun violence data between 2008 and 2010. The report detailed numerous findings that provide an interesting look at how firearms are used across racial lines. Some of the findings in the report include:
- Over the three-year period, 73 African-Americans died from gun-related homicides, while 78 Caucasian Minnesotans were killed by guns. When adjusted for demographics, this meant that 7.3 blacks per 100,000 were killed by firearms while only 0.6 whites per 100,000 were killed by guns.
- During the same time period, 800 white residents committed suicide with a firearm, compared to 17 black Minnesotans.
- Most African-American gun homicide victims were boys or men in urban areas, while most white suicide victims were men in rural areas.
- African-Americans are less likely to own firearms than Caucasians.
- According to a separate report by the Pew Research Center, more than 70 percent of blacks said controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting second amendment rights, while only 43 percent of whites felt the same way.
Analyzing the Findings
The findings paint a contrasting picture of gun ownership and violence across racial lines. Roxann Storms, a clinical social worker in St. Cloud, said many factors influence gun violence across different demographics.
“It’s a multifactored, complex problem,” said Storms
She offered some possible reasons behind the findings, saying:
- Rural, white suicides may be more prevalent because they have easier access to firearms and less access to mental health services.
- Research found that African-Americans in urban areas tend to be more closely connected with their family or social networks, which lessens the likelihood of suicide.
Varying Reasons for Gun Ownership
Based on the findings in the Pew report which highlighted the difference in opinion regarding controlling gun possession, it is evident that white and black communities are affected differently by firearms. Mad Dads President V.J. Smith, who works towards curbing drug and gun crimes in Minneapolis, said stricter gun laws may help lower crime in urban areas.
“Most of our families don’t have guns in our homes for recreational use. Those guns come in from the streets and they come in from the mob; they come in from drug deals; they come in from different things,” Smith said.
Smith added that the influx of weapons through illegal activities simply spurs more illegal behavior.
“Those guns get used to rob people,” Smith said.
Gun control regulations at the state and national level are expected to continue to be hot-button issues in the coming months as legislators decide if stricter gun laws are necessary.
Related source MPR News