UALR professor: Statistics on gun deaths don’t tell full story

October 13, 2015

On Oct. 1, Christopher Harper-Mercer reportedly killed nine people and himself at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

In 2013, there were 501 gun deaths in Arkansas, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This translates to a rate of 16.8 people per 100,000. In the same year, 212 Arkansans died from homicide, and it is estimated that 148 people died in homicides involving a firearm. So what about the 353?

There are different explanations. Causes of death by firearm also include accidental discharge and suicide.

According to, the U.S. suicide rate is 12.61 per 100,00 people. Arkansas is 12th on that list with a suicide rate of 17.34. In 2013, there were 505 gun deaths due to accidental discharge in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s important to note that these are correlations, not causation,” says Gregory Shufeldt, assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s political science department. “People may connect the two, but the research doesn’t say that.”

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