USA: National Violent Death Reporting System

29 June 2010

Thanks to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for sharing details of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) which collects information from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and police reports in 19 states (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.)

The report 'Surveillance for Violent Deaths - National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2007' analyses data from the 16 states that participated statewide in 2007 (ie. no data from California, Ohio, or Michigan). Findings of interest to our work include:


Sixty-six percent of all murders are committed with guns. The location of homicides (all methods) varies by gender: 73 percent of female murder victims are killed in the home, while 45 percent of men are killed in the home. Twenty-six percent of men are killed on the street.

For homicides for which data were available (65 percent), almost 40 percent of homicides were related to an argument or conflict not related to money or property, one third were precipitated by another crime, and 20 percent were domestic violence related (note: more than one reason can apply to the same incident). Of the homicides precipitated by another crime, in most cases the crime was in progress at the time of the incident. Thirty-seven percent were precipitated by a robbery; 23 percent by an assault.

Homicides Followed by Suicides

Eighty percent of homicides followed by suicides were committed with guns. Women made up the majority of the homicide victims (73 percent), while men were the shooters/suicides (93 percent). Most (75 percent) happened in a house or apartment. In terms of stressors, 91 percent of shooters/suicides had experienced a crisis during the previous 2 weeks.

How can I use this resource?

Relationship problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental-health problems, and recent crises are among the primary precipitating factors of violent deaths. Access to firearms increases the lethality of these violent interactions, making it more likely that someone will die. States with NVDRS can use the data to focus legislative solutions such as background checks for every gun sale, childproof guns, and child access prevention laws, to save lives. Advocates can access data from the participating states via a query tool at:

Citation: Karch, Debra; Dahlberg, Linda; Patel, Nimesh, “Surveillance for Violent Deaths - National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2007,” MMWR, 59(SS-4) May 14, 2010: 1-50

Read more on the Brady Campaign website at:

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence