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Firearm Deaths - Women
Firearm Deaths - Women in United States
United States

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Firearm Deaths - Women in depth:

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Firearm Deaths - Women by State

Deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide, or undetermined) per 100,000 females ages 20-44

Firearm Deaths - Women Trends

Deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide, or undetermined) per 100,000 females ages 20-44

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Firearm Deaths - Women

About Firearm Deaths - Women

US Value: 5.1

Top State(s): Massachusetts: 0.9

Bottom State(s): Alaska: 13.8

Definition: Deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide, or undetermined) per 100,000 females ages 20-44

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2018-2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Firearm violence is a serious and deadly public health issue, especially for women. Women in the United States are 21 times more likely to die by firearm compared with women in other developed countries. In 2020, there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States, a 35% increase from 2019.

More than half of all female homicides are related to intimate partner violence, and approximately 10% of women killed by an intimate partner experienced violence in the month preceding their death. Women are 5 times more likely to die if their abuser has access to a gun. Similarly, suicide rates are higher among women who live with a person who owns a gun compared with women who live with a person who never owned a gun.

The firearm death rate is higher among: 

  • Women ages 20-24 compared with those ages 35-44.
  • Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women compared with Asian women. 

Firearm deaths are preventable, and there is a lot that can be done at the individual, community, and policy levels to reduce the firearm death rate.

It is safest not to keep any guns in the home at all, but there are other steps gun owners can take to improve household gun safety, like: 

  • Making sure all guns inside the house are unloaded and locked away securely.
  • Keeping all lock combinations, codes and storage keys appropriately hidden, especially from children.

Targeting intimate partner violence, which contributes significantly to firearms deaths among women, is also necessary. Strategies to prevent intimate partner violence include

  • Teaching social-emotional, conflict management and communication skills. 
  • Early childhood interventions to reduce risk factors associated with partner violence later in life, such as child abuse or neglect, and promote positive parenting skills and family dynamics.
  • Creating protective social environments in schools, neighborhoods and workplaces.
  • Improving financial security for low-income families. 
  • Increasing survivor supports such as victim-centered advocacy and health care services, housing programs and legal and law enforcement protections. 

Community- and state-level initiatives are key. Communities can offer resources and support to help resolve conflicts before they escalate to gun violence, and partner with public health and public safety agencies to examine local trends in gun violence and generate solutions. State-level policy recommendations include strengthening firearms legislation, particularly background check laws and firearm removal laws like Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Improving access to mental health resources can help prevent suicide. Examples include medical interventions, support groups, effective clinical care for mental disorders and family and community support. In 2022 the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched to provide an easy-to-remember number and 24/7 confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources, by call, text or online chat. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK(8255)) is also active.

Healthy People 2030 has several violence prevention objectives related to firearms, including: 

  • Reducing firearm-related deaths. 
  • Reducing nonfatal physical assault injuries. 
  • Reducing nonfatal firearm-related injuries.  

Davis, Ari, Lisa Geller, Rose Kim, Silvia Villarreal, Alexander McCourt, Janel Cubbage, and Cassandra Crifasi. “A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.” Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, 2022.

Lee, Lois K., Eric W. Fleegler, Caitlin Farrell, Elorm Avakame, Saranya Srinivasan, David Hemenway, and Michael C. Monuteaux. “Firearm Laws and Firearm Homicides: A Systematic Review.” JAMA Internal Medicine 177, no. 1 (January 1, 2017): 106.

Miller, Matthew, Yifan Zhang, Lea Prince, Sonja A. Swanson, Garen J. Wintemute, Erin E. Holsinger, and David M. Studdert. “Suicide Deaths Among Women in California Living With Handgun Owners vs Those Living With Other Adults in Handgun-Free Homes, 2004-2016.” JAMA Psychiatry 79, no. 6 (June 1, 2022): 582.

Niolon, Phyllis Holditch, Megan Kearns, Jenny Dills, Kirsten Rambo, Shalon Irving, Theresa L. Armstead, and Leah Gilbert. “Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices.” Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.

Petrosky, Emiko, Janet M. Blair, Carter J. Betz, Katherine A. Fowler, Shane P. D. Jack, and Bridget H. Lyons. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Homicides of Adult Women and the Role of Intimate Partner Violence — United States, 2003–2014.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 66, no. 28 (July 21, 2017): 741–46.

Websdale, Neil, Kathleen Ferraro, and Steven D. Barger. “The Domestic Violence Fatality Review Clearinghouse: Introduction to a New National Data System with a Focus on Firearms.” Injury Epidemiology 6, no. 1 (December 2019): 6.

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