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Firearm Fatalities in Eastern Saudi Arabia: Impact of Culture and Legislation

Elfawal, M. A. M.B., Ch.B., M.S.c., Ph.D.; Awad, O. A. M.B., B.Ch., M.S.c., M.D.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 1997 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 391-396

A study of all firearm fatalities in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia during the 10-year period from 1985 to 1994 is presented. The overall number of cases was 71 (0.35 per 100,000 population), of which 48% were homicides, 28% were suicides, and 24% were accidental. Most victims were young male Saudis; most were shot in the chest (41%) or the head (34%). Hand guns were responsible for all suicides, 56% of homicides, and 71% of accidental deaths. The study shows some resemblance between the homicide and suicide groups with regard to the age of victim, type of weapon used, and site of entrance wound. The findings in the present study are comparable to reports from other Middle East countries, but different from those in communities with different cultural and legislative backgrounds. Our findings may support the argument that more strict firearm legislation is helpful in limiting the number of firearm fatalities in the community.

From the Department of Pathology, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, (M.A.E.), and Dammam Medico-Legal Center (O.A.A.), Eastern Province, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Received April 25, 1996; accepted June 27, 1996.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M.A. Elfawal, Mail Box 90, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, P.O. BOX 2114, Dammam 31451, Saudi Arabia.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.