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Kohli, Anil, Aaron Karp and Sonal Marwah. 2011 ‘Trends in firearm fatalities, 1999 - 2008 - Murder Rates.’ Mapping Murder: The Geography of Indian Firearm Fatalities; IAVA Issue Brief No. 2, pp. 6-7. New Delhi: India Armed Violence Assessment / IAVA and the Small Arms Survey, Geneva. 20 September

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Trends in firearm fatalities, 1999 - 2008 - Murder Rates

As revealed in Table 10, the absolute number of victims being murdered by all types of gun - licensed and unlicensed - declined during the period 1999–2008. As the total number of shooting deaths fell, so did the proportion of deaths caused by unlicensed guns, although the drop is not enormous.

Victims murdered by unlicensed firearms constituted 92 per cent of all firearm murder victims in 1999, but this figure had fallen to 86 per cent by 2008. This drop might suggest some degree of success of official efforts to curb unlicensed firearms.

The magnitude of the problem posed by unlicensed firearms remains alarming, however. During the same ten-year period, the total reported firearm deaths fell by nearly half, from 12,147 deaths in 1999 to 6,219 deaths in 2008 (see Table 11).

Reports of all forms of violent crime, by contrast, went down only slightly, from 238,081 in 1999 to 228,663 in 2008 (NCRB, 2005, p. 169; 2009a, p. 51). The dramatic decline in firearm deaths is a major achievement, although its causes remain largely unknown.

Identifying the forces behind this drop is among the most important tasks facing contemporary Indian criminology. Possibilities include economic development, police reform, and social activism. But these are guesses; the Indian murder rate drop remains enigmatic.

ID: Q5812

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