More than a dozen states have strengthened laws designed to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers in the last two years, a rare and growing area of consensus in the nation's polarized debate over gun rights. The measures have been backed by a broad coalition of advocates for domestic violence victims, law enforcement groups and gun control supporters who see easy access to firearms as a major contributor to domestic violence killings. They have passed even in states dominated politically by Republicans, including South Carolina and Wisconsin.
An average of 760 Americans were killed with guns annually by their spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners between 2006 and 2014, according to an Associated Press analysis of FBI and Florida homicide data. That figure is an undercount because not all departments voluntarily report the information, and it does not include children and other bystanders who were killed.
About the data set
The data set summarizes incidents from the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports for 2006-2014. The SHR collects data reported from law enforcement agencies in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Florida does not report its data to the FBI, but tallies from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement -- in a slightly different structure -- are included in a separate spreadsheet. The total FBI SHR dataset includes more than 122,000 homicides over the nine-year period.
This dataset only includes the 6,235 FBI incidents that involved a firearm and were coded as the killing of a significant other. The Florida data includes an additional 640 incidents.
State-level summary: The first spreadsheet breaks down the gun-related homicides over the past nine years by state. Click on the arrow next to the state name to get a more detailed breakdown of the victims' relationship to their attackers. This only includes data reported to the FBI.Download the state summary file: here
Agency-level summary: The second spreadsheet provides a total count of all gun-related domestic homicides from 2006-14 by reporting law enforcement agency. This spreadsheet includes Florida agency tallies collected by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Please remember: these figures are only as accurate as the agencies' reporting to the FBI. Many agencies do not report their numbers every year. (See "Important Notes" below for more details)Download the agency summary file: here
Florida summary: This provides a breakdown by year of all gun-related domestic homicides from 2006-14 where the relationship between offender and victim was listed as either spouse or live-in domestic partner, or where an adult was the victim of what law enforcement officers deemed a "lovers quarrel".Download the Florida summary file: here
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THE DATA SET
This data is self-reported by law enforcement agencies. As such, there are gaps in reporting and in accuracy. These totals are most certainly an undercount. You should NOT use this data to rank one state or one agency against another. For more warnings about ranking localities based on FBI data, read this.MISSING CASES: In some cases, single cells of data are missing. For example, a homicide is reported but is not coded as having involved a firearm or being an attack involving significant others. These cases are therefore not counted in this data set. In other cases, individual agencies have failed to provide any data, so entire incidents are missing. In addition to missing data, relationships might have been miscoded in an unknown number of cases, creating false positives.
Here are some of the known gaps in the data:
- In Illinois, only the Chicago and Rockford police departments report to the FBI. No other data from Illinois is available for any year
- Washington, D.C., and Omaha, Nebraska, only began reporting to the FBI in 2009
- In Alabama, the Hoover Police Department was the only agency to file reports between 2011 and 2014. No other data from Alabama is available for those years
Current wives and girlfriends comprised nearly 75 percent of all victims in fatal domestic shootings. Overall, women were the victims in more than four out of every five of these types of incidents. This holds true for the Florida data as well.
Fatal Domestic Shootings by Relationship
Count of cases by year, broken down by the victim's relationship to the offender. This does not include Florida cases, because Florida categorizes relationships differently.