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Terror Nine to Five: Guns in the American Workplace, 1994-2003

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2004
14 pages
This report presents findings from a nationwide study on guns and workplace violence between 1994 and 2003, offering a better understanding for the epidemic of violence in the workplace, specifically workplace shootings and the danger posed by incidents of workplace violence.
Nationwide, workplace violence, specifically workplace shootings, are on the rise. From 1998 to 2003, the number of workplace shooting incidents as well as the number of people killed per incident increased significantly. Today, more than 75 percent of all workplace homicides are committed with firearms. The question is what has driven American workers to become so violent? This report was created in an effort to understand the trends associated with workplace shootings, detailing specific incidents ranging from the beginning of 1994 through the end of 2003. The information reveals how the presence of firearms in society has facilitated such an epidemic. A detailed database was assembled of 164 workplace violence incidents, occurring between 1994-2003 which met 3 established criteria: (1) the gun must have been fired, resulting in the injury and/or death of 1 or more employee(s); (2) an employee or former employee must have committed the shooting, or by another individual invited to the workplace; and (3) the shooting must not have been the result of a robbery. The data collected demonstrated a steady rise in the frequency of workplace shootings in the past 6 years, from 1998 to 2003. This report, utilizing the identified cases, provides information on a typical offender and the use of guns. Select key findings include: (1) from 2002 to 2003, the number of workplace shootings increased from 25 to 45 and the number of victims killed increased from 33 to 69; (2) at least 13.4 percent of the cases reviewed indicated the shooter had a publicly known history of mental health concerns; (3) 91.6 percent of workplace shooters were male; (4) 78.5 percent of the guns used in workplace shootings were handguns and 81.2 percent of the handguns were semiautomatics; (5) 35.8 percent of male shooters committed suicide after killing their coworkers, compared to 7.1 percent of female shooters; and (6) California and Florida were the most dangerous States when it comes to workplace shootings. In order to address the prevention of workplace shootings, it is mandatory to address the easy access to firearms, especially semiautomatic handguns. Tables, charts and graphs