FBI Uniform Crime Report: Murders Down, Self-Defense Up in 2019

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FBI Uniform Crime Report: Murders Down, Self-Defense Up in 2019

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Armed private citizens fatally shot 334 people last year, continuing a gradual upward trend in the United States while the number of justifiable homicides by police declined, and murders also dropped, including those involving firearms, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2019.

The report was released Monday but was overshadowed by presidential politics, including the release of President Donald Trump’s tax history.

Remarkably, the 334 criminal suspects killed by private citizens equals the number killed by police, the FBI report said. While police reportedly committed 340 justifiable homicides in 2019, private citizens killed 386 suspected felons during the commission of a felony, the FBI said.

Armed private citizens fatally shot more people in self-defense last year than previous years, continuing an upward trend, according to data released in the FBI 2019 Uniform Crime Report. (Screen snip, FBI UCR)

The annual FBI UCR traditionally is released on the last Monday in September, showing data for the previous full year. There are plenty of details in the report, including state-by-state homicide breakdowns, types of weapons used, comparisons with previous years and reports from individual cities.

“In 2019,” the FBI said in a news release, “violent crime was down 0.5% from the 2018 number. Property crimes also dropped 4.1%, marking the 17th consecutive year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.”

Interestingly, while homicides declined last year, gun ownership continued to rise. The 2019 UCR tends to refute the long-running argument that more guns will result in more violent crime; an argument that has been repeated over the years in an attempt to justify more gun control demands.

Data for this year will not be available until September 2021, and it will be scrutinized with an eye on how this year’s COVID-19 pandemic shutdown affected murder and assault cases.

Once again, data shows a fraction of all homicides were committed with rifles of any kind, or shotguns. According to the FBI, last year saw an estimated total of 13,927 murders, of which 10,258 involved firearms. But of all those slayings, rifles of any kind (including semi-autos, lever- and bolt-actions, and single-shots) were identified as the murder weapon in only 364 cases. Shotguns were identified as the weapon of choice in 200 other cases.

The FBI has released its 2019 Uniform Crime Report, showing a decline in homicides last year. (Screen snip, FBI Uniform Crime Report)

This compares favorably by a slight margin with the 10,445 gun-related slayings in 2018, a year in which the total number of homicides was 14,446, according to this year’s data. That year, 305 people were killed with rifles of any kind, while shotguns accounted for 237 more.

The news isn’t good for the gun prohibition lobby, because once again far more people were murdered with knives or “blunt instruments” than were killed with rifles, including so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles.” In 2019, the FBI UCR data shows 1,476 people were stabbed or slashed to death and blunt instruments accounted for another 397 lives.

Rifles of any kind, including semi-auto modern sporting rifles like this one are still used in a fraction of all murders.

Indeed, more people were stomped, beaten or choked to death last year (597) than were killed with rifles or shotguns.

As in the past, a number of gun-related murders did not specifically identify the weapon. In 2019, there were at least 3,281 slayings committed with firearms “not identified,’ the FBI data shows. In 2018, that number was 3,056.

Handguns still are the favored firearm for personal defense, according to the new FBI UCR data. In 2019, armed citizens stopped 237 criminals with handguns, 16 more with rifles and 8 with shotguns.

Likewise, police officers used handguns 248 times to stop criminals, 32 more shootings were done with rifles and only 2 felony suspects were killed with shotguns.

Historically, the number of murders has gone up and down. For example, in 2016, FBI data shows there were 15,355 total slayings. This translates to a decline of 1,428 homicides over the short span of three years.

California reported the most murders (1,679) with Texas reporting 1,379 killings.

Golden State killers used firearms in 1,142 of last year’s slayings with the overwhelming choice of handguns (762) to stop confrontations. Down in Texas, 1,064 people fell to handguns, another 72 to rifles and 21 to shotguns.

Last year, according to the FBI UCR, “Of the 18,667 federal, state, county, city, university and college, and tribal agencies eligible to participate in the UCR Program, 16,554 agencies submitted data in 2019. Translation: While the FBI data may not be complete, it does paint an improving picture in a country where this year saw at least 5 million new gun owners due to the coronavirus outbreak and long-running civil disturbances.

Gun rights activists now have fresh data from a reliable source to use against the gun prohibition lobby. This information could come in handy during 2021 legislative sessions when lawmakers consider a new wave of gun control legislation.

About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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So, we are now funding the Center for Disease Control to study “gun violence.” And the point of that is? Teh US Department of Justice and the many states attorneys general have done this since the 1920’s. What could the CDC add to the mix other than more confusion. They cannot even get it right on infectious disease. Now they want to expand to crime.


It’s just “bureaucracy creep”… the ever-expanding nature of the government.
From the suburbs, I watch as, da triggas in Jackson, MS bee shooting da place ever nite. When you see a news story of somebody missing on TV, they find him in a couple of days, when he gets ripe. Mayor ‘Boon-shaka-laka turned down Federal hep…. coz DEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO AX DA MAYOR (when offering the help)


That started back during the Mao, Mao, Biden admin.

jack mac

I wonder how many more justified killings by private citizens would listed if DAs did not prosecute self-defense.

Brian (Rev) Norris

Dave, thanks for this helpful update.


Thanks dave, saves me the trouble of looking for it.
Added to my collection of pro gun links I use the smash the anti-gun and ignorant people.
I have the last 8 previous reports.


It will be interesting to see how different the data is for 2020. Violent crime (arson) will be up. So might aggravated assaults. I suspect homicides might tick upwards too, mostly led by the usual suspect large cities.

The big question is will there be even more violence into 1Q21 when Trump is re-elected? Or will certain factions lose their steam (and funding)?