New Data Shows High Gun-Related Death Rates in Certain NY Counties, Highlights Need for Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Delaware, Allegany, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, and Sullivan Counties have
the highest overall rate of gun-related deaths, driven by high rates of
gun suicides

Erie County has the highest gun homicide rate

 

(Albany, NY)  Today, members of the New York ERPO Coalition — a broad group of gun violence prevention advocates, mental health organizations, district attorneys, law enforcement officials, healthcare organizations, and legislators — released an analysis by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence of gun-related death rates in counties across New York State.

The analysis found that among counties with reliable data, Delaware County had both the highest overall rate of gun-related deaths and the highest rate of gun suicides. For every 100,000 residents of Delaware County, there were 13.4 gun-related deaths between 2012 and 2016. After Delaware County, the next highest rates were in Allegany (11.7), Wyoming (11.1), Cattaraugus (9.4), and Sullivan (9.2) Counties. In these counties, the high rates of gun-related death were driven by high rates of gun suicide. Delaware County also had the highest rate of suicide by gun (12.9), while Erie County had the highest rate of gun homicides (4.5).

New York State’s overall gun-related death rate in 2016 was 4.4 deaths per 100,000 residents, while the national average was 11.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. In non-US high-income countries, the rate of gun-related death is 0.8 per 100,000 residents, according a study in the American Journal of Medicine.

The coalition members releasing the analysis — State Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Westchester DA Anthony Scarpino, Jr., and the Mental Health Association in Orange County — also renewed their call for the State Senate to pass a bill that would help stop preventable gun deaths by enacting Extreme Risk Protection Orders before the legislative session ends.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) would help save lives by empowering individuals to petition a judge for an order preventing someone from possessing or purchasing guns if they are found by a court to be likely to harm themselves or others. A study led by researchers from Duke University found that Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Connecticut led to a decrease in the state’s suicide rate.

“As the data show, every community in our state suffers from gun violence. No one is immune. New York has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, but every year 900 New Yorkers are killed by guns, and more than half of those are suicide. These deaths are preventable — if we have the tools to stop them,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh, co-prime sponsor of S7133A, said. “Extreme Risk Protection Orders will save lives — especially in places where high gun-related death rates are driven by high gun suicide rates. We are once again calling on Republicans in the Senate to allow a vote on this bill before we adjourn next week. Failing to schedule a vote and enact this legislation would leave countless New Yorkers to die preventable deaths.”

Senator Brad Hoylman, co-prime sponsor of S7133A, said, "As this report shows, gun-related homicides and suicides continue to be a problem for the state of New York. We must do whatever we can to remove guns from dangerous individuals, and Extreme Risk Protection Orders are a common sense solution. I thank my colleagues Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Simon for their partnership in this effort and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence for assembling this report, and I urge my Senate colleagues to bring our ERPO legislation up for a vote before the end of the legislative session."

“No community is immune from gun violence. This new data shows even more clearly how important Extreme Risk Protection Orders are to the safety of all New Yorkers. It also shows that the presence of a firearm has a profound impact on suicide rates throughout the state. Thank you to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence for this eye-opening report.  I stand with the ERPO coalition and my colleagues, Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman, for their call for a vote on the Senate floor before the legislative session ends,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

Dakota Jablon, Policy Analyst at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, said: "The data compiled by the Educational Fund shows that New York counties with the highest gun death rates also tend to be the highest for gun suicides. New York has been a tremendous leader in reducing gun homicides and should apply that same effort to gun suicides. The research has shown that extreme risk laws are an effective tool in doing just that. The people of New York -- particularly in central and western parts of the states -- need this tool. By passing an extreme risk law for citizens to use to remove guns from loved ones in crisis, New York will once again show the nation how it is leading on the issue of reducing gun deaths and saving lives."

A bill creating Extreme Risk Protection Orders sponsored by Senators Kavanagh and Hoylman and Assemblymember Simon (S7133A/A8976B) passed the Assembly with broad bipartisan support earlier this year, and is supported by more than half of all Senators. That bill would allow family members, household members, police officers, and district attorneys to request ERPOs. A second bill (A11148) sponsored by Assemblymember Simon on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo — and based on the Kavanagh/Hoylman/Simon bill — would expand the list of those who could petition for an order to include school officials. That bill passed the Assembly on June 13th. Despite this, Republican leadership in the Senate has refused to allow either bill to the floor for a vote.

The data, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and analyzed by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, measures the rates of gun-related deaths, suicide, and homicide in each of New York’s 62 counties between 2012 and 2016.

Using the rate of deaths — rather than the raw number of New Yorkers killed by guns — accounts for New York’s uneven population distribution and provides a clearer picture of how gun violence impacts communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for example, 43% of New York State residents live in New York City in 2016, which is made up of just five of the state’s 62 counties.

Findings from the analysis include:

Gun-Related Deaths

Overall, Delaware County had the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the state, with 13.35 deaths per 100,000 residents, while New York County (Manhattan) had the lowest rate at 1.73 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The five counties with the highest rates of gun-related death in New York from 2012 to 2016 are:

  1. Delaware County — 31 deaths for a rate 13.35 deaths per 100,000 residents

  2. Allegany County — 28 deaths for a rate of 11.73 deaths per 100,000 residents

  3. Wyoming County — 23 deaths for a rate of 11.14 deaths per 100,000 residents

  4. Cattaraugus County — 37 deaths for a rate of 9.43 deaths per 100,000 residents

  5. Sullivan County — 35 deaths for a rate of 9.23 deaths per 100,000 residents

The five counties with the lowest rates of gun-related death in New York during that time period were:

  1. New York County (Manhattan) — 141 deaths for a rate of 1.73 deaths per 100,000 residents

  2. Rockland County — 32 deaths for a rate of 1.98 deaths per 100,000 residents

  3. Westchester County — 119 deaths for a rate of 2.45 deaths per 100,000 residents

  4. Queens County — 286 deaths for a rate of 2.47 deaths per 100,000 residents

  5. Richmond County (Staten Island) — 65 deaths for a rate of 2.75 per 100,000 residents

 

Gun-Related Suicide

Delaware County also had the highest rate of gun suicide (12.92 deaths per 100,000 residents) and New York County had the lowest rate of gun suicide (0.45 deaths per 100,000 residents).

The five counties with the highest rates of gun-related suicide in New York between 2012 and 2016 were:

  1. Delaware County — 30 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 12.92 per 100,000 residents

  2. Allegany County — 25 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 10.47 per 100,000 residents

  3. Cattaraugus County — 33 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 8.41 per 100,000 residents

  4. Clinton County — 31 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 7.61 per 100,000 residents

  5. Columbia County — 23 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 7.43 per 100,000 residents
     

The five counties with the lowest rates of gun-related suicide in New York during that period were:

  1. New York County (Manhattan) — 37 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 0.45 per 100,000 residents

  2. Bronx County — 45 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 0.63 per 100,000 residents

  3. Kings County (Brooklyn) — 92 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 0.71 per 100,000 residents

  4. Queens County — 90 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 0.78 per 100,000 residents

  5. Richmond County (Staten Island) — 27 gun suicide deaths for a rate of 1.14 per 100,000 residents
     

Gun-Related Homicide

Erie County had the highest gun homicide rate in the state (4.45 deaths per 100,000 residents) while Westchester County (1.01 deaths per 100,000 residents) had the lowest.

The five counties with the highest rates of gun homicide in New York between 2012 and 2016 were:

  1. Erie County — 205 gun homicides for a rate of 4.45 per 100,000 residents

  2. Bronx County — 296 gun homicides for a rate of 4.12 per 100,000 residents

  3. Monroe County — 145 gun homicides for a rate of 3.87 per 100,000 residents

  4. Kings County (Brooklyn) — 480 gun homicides for a rate of 3.68 per 100,000 residents

  5. Onondaga County — 75 gun homicides for a rate of 3.21 per 100,000 residents
     

The five counties with the lowest rates of gun homicide in New York during that time period were:

  1. Westchester County — 49 gun homicides for a rate of 1.01 per 100,000 residents

  2. Suffolk County — 84 gun homicides for a rate of 1.12 per 100,000 residents

  3. New York County (Manhattan) — 97 gun homicides for a rate of 1.19 per 100,000 residents

  4. Nassau County — 86 gun homicides for a rate of 1.27 per 100,000 residents

  5. Albany County — 21 gun homicides for a rate of 1.36 per 100,000 residents

To view the full fact sheet, including notes on methodology, click here.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “We need to do everything possible to save lives and I hope the State Senate will do just that by passing legislation creating Extreme Risk Protection Orders. No one who poses a danger to the public or themselves should have a gun. As District Attorney for the county with the second-highest rate of firearms homicides in New York State, I have seen far too many deaths that might have been prevented if we had acted on the warning signs.”

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said: “While Westchester County has one of the lowest gun violence rates in the state, one death is too many when that death is often at the hands of someone in crisis. We continue to urge the legislature to pass the Extreme Risk Protection Order law immediately before our lawmakers go home for the summer. Every day without this law is a potential day for someone to die at their own hands or someone else’s.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., co-founder of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, said, “One preventable firearm death is one too many. Extreme Risk Protection Orders are a proven way to prevent gun deaths, and will have an immediate impact on families and communities at risk across the state. I urge the Senate to bring these bills to the floor for a vote – the time for action is now.”

“Thousands of New Yorkers die from gun violence each year, making this an issue that requires the attention of elected leaders at all levels of government. This report clearly shows how we’ve failed to stop gun violence in our homes, schools and businesses,” said Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director of Giffords. “The Extreme Risk Protection Order is a vital tool that gives law enforcement and families the resources to remove firearms from situations where someone may be a harm to themselves or others. New York has an opportunity to save lives by putting an ERPO in place, and the deaths highlighted in this report stress that New York needs to pass this legislation today."

"This report confirms that communities across New York State are impacted by senseless gun violence and that more must be done to protect New Yorkers. Extreme Risk Protection Orders are a critical tool that would empower New Yorkers to prevent gun violence," said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. "Ten states have already enacted these laws -- and New York cannot risk being left behind. This data is a call to action to save lives. The Senate leadership must allow a vote on Extreme Risk Protection Orders before the session ends."

Nadia Allen, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Orange County said: “After reviewing the firearm death data fact sheet, we can all agree that we need to keep weapons, including assault weapons, out of the hands of people who have thoughts of violence, whether or not they have mental illness. This should be the goal of public policy initiatives today and in the future. Common sense is that background checks are appropriate for someone who wishes to purchase a gun. If someone has a pattern or history of violence, that person should not have access to weapons. The debate about weapons and violence is about that, and it cannot continue to be deflected toward a debate about mental health.”

About the New York ERPO Coalition:

Founded earlier this year, the New York ERPO coalition includes: New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, the New York Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, New York Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, the March for Our Lives NYC, Gays Against Guns, DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. (Manhattan), DA Darcel D. Clark (Bronx), DA Eric Gonzalez (Brooklyn), DA Madeline Singas (Nassau), DA Richard A. Brown (Queens), DA Michael McMahon (Staten Island), DA Anthony Scarpino (Westchester), DA Timothy Sini (Suffolk), Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-New York State, the Mental Health Association of New York State, the Mental Health Association of New York City, the Mental Health Association in Orange County, Mental Health America of Dutchess County, Psychiatrists for Gun Violence Prevention, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Doctors for America -- New York Chapter, the New York State Nurses Association, the National Physicians Alliance - NY, the National Hispanic Medical Association, Doctors for America - New York, the Manhattan Central Medical Society, the New York American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Greater New York Hospital Association.

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