In October 1996, the National Safety Council (NSC) released its \"Accident Facts: 1996 Edition,\" including data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for 1993 and previous years, and the NSC\'s estimates for 1994 and 1995. In April 1996, the NCHS, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, released its \"Deaths From 282 Selected

Causes, By 5-Year Age Groups, Race, and Sex\" data for 1993. The report shows the most recent confirmed data for causes of death in the U.S.

Fatal Firearm Accident Rates

According to the National Safety Council, the fatal firearm accident per capita rate fell to an all-time low in 1995. The new rate, 0.5 for every 100,000 people in the U.S. population, represents an 85% decrease from the all-time high recorded in 1904, and is well below rates for other types of fatal accidents, including those involving motor vehicles (16.7), falls (4.8), poisoning of all types (4.0), drowning (1.7), fires (1.6), and choking on an ingested object (1.1).

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the fatal firearms accident rate (0.6) was well below rates of other fatal accidents in 1993, including motor vehicle accidents (16.3), falls (5.1), poisonings of all types (3.3), fires (1.5), drownings (1.5), choking on an ingested object (1.2), and medical mishaps (1.1).

Fatal Firearm Accident Annual Numbers

The National Safety Council estimates that in 1995 the annual number of fatal firearm accidents fell to 1,400, an all-time low, a 15% decrease over the last decade. Since 1930, the annual number of fatal firearm accidents has been cut by more than half, even as the U.S. population has doubled and the number of privately owned firearms has quadrupled. (Population: Bureau of the Census; Firearms: BATF, American Firearms Industry) By comparison,

other types of accidents accounted for much larger numbers of fatalities in 1995, including motor vehicles (43,900), falls (12,600), drownings (4,500), fires (4,100) choking on an ingested object (2,800) and poisonings of all types (10,600).

According to the NCHS, there were 2,268,553 deaths in the United States in 1993. Of these, 90,523 were accidental deaths, including 1,521 fatal firearm accidents, with much greater numbers due to other accident types, including motor vehicle (41,893), poison (8,537), fire (3,900), drowning (3,807), choking (3,160), medical mishaps (2,724), and other types of accidents.

Fatal firearm accidents increased 8% from 1992 to 1993, mostly due to a 15% increase among persons ages 15-24. Increases occurred not only in firearms accidents, but in other accident categories as well, including poisonings (21%), drownings (8%), falls (4%), motor vehicle accidents (2%), medical mishaps (2%), and choking on an ingested object (1%). The number of fatal accidents, of all types, increased 4%, while deaths for all reasons increased 4% as well.

Percentages of Firearm and Other Accidents

The NSC estimates that in 1995, firearm accidents accounted for 1.5% of fatal accidents. Larger percentages of fatal accidents were accounted for by motor vehicle accidents (47%), falls (13.5%), poisonings (11.4%), drownings (4.8%), fires (4.4%), and choking on an ingested object (3.0%).

The NCHS reports that in 1993 fatal firearm accidents accounted for a small percentage of fatal accidents, and of total deaths. Fatal firearm accidents accounted for 1.7% of all fatal accidents, with higher percentages reported for other accidents, including motor vehicle (46.3%), falls (14.5%), poisonings (9.4%), fires (4.3%), drownings (4.2%), choking on an ingested object (3.5%), and medical mishaps (3.0%). Fatal firearm accidents accounted for less than 0.07% of all deaths in the U.S.