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Clarifying gun deaths in Wisconsin, and the people and areas most impacted by it

Understanding gun deaths in Wisconsin
Sebastian Gelbke/eyegelb
Understanding gun deaths in Wisconsin

Editor's note: This story discusses suicide and gun violence.

Gun deaths are rising in Wisconsin, but the people affected by it might surprise you. The narrative around gun violence is often limited to urban homicides, but the vast majority of deaths by guns are suicides. In fact, a new report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds that suicides make up more than two-thirds of all deaths by guns in Wisconsin.

The report is part of a larger project by the Journal Sentinel that is exploring the reality of gun violence in Wisconsin, as well as who it affects and what’s being done to prevent it. Investigative reporter John Diedrich is the driving force behind this project.

"Of 100 gun deaths that [occur] in Wisconsin, roughly 25 of those are homicides. And then there's another one to 2% that are accidents or police involved shootings," Diedrich explains. "The idea that 71 out of 100 gun deaths in Wisconsin are suicides was an eye-opener to me and to our readers."

While mental health factors into these statistics, there is nothing to suggest that gun owners experience mental health challenges any more frequently than non-gun owners. But, he says, when the mental health issues do come up, gun owners have access to a means that is highly deadly.

Diedrich continues, "Why is this important? I think it's because people should understand [gun violence] isn't just a Milwaukee issue."


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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