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United States National Church Shooting Database, 1980-2005 (ICPSR 25561)

Principal Investigator(s): Bixby, Derek, Center for Homicide Research; Kielmeyer, Amy, Center for Homicide Research; Drake, Dallas, Center for Homicide Research


Founded in 1999, the Center for Homicide Research has made it its mission to increase case solvability and decrease the occurrence of homicide incidents. In working toward this goal, the Center has put together various databases of national homicide incidents. The Church Shooting Database uses online newspaper archive articles to document all cases of shootings on church property within the United States from 1980-2005. While extensive studies have been done exploring the details of other public shootings such as school campuses and workplaces, the phenomenon of shootings in churches has been left relatively untouched. Taking into account variables about the offenders, victims, and circumstances of each shooting, the database attempts to describe each incident as well as explore how the church context may play a role in the shooting.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


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Study Description


Bixby, Derek, Amy Kielmeyer, and Dallas Drake. United States National Church Shooting Database, 1980-2005. ICPSR25561-v1. [distributor], 2010-03-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR25561.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR25561.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • Philanthrofund Foundation
  • Gill Foundation
  • Minnesota State Bar Foundation
  • Otto Bremer Foundation

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arson, assault weapons, church buildings, church membership, explosives, firearms, gun use, handguns, homicide, offenders, religion, religious affiliation, rural areas, suicide, urban areas, weapons, weapons offenses

Smallest Geographic Unit:    city

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1980-01-01--2005-12-31

Date of Collection:   

  • 2007-08-15--2007-12-13

Universe:    The study uses cases involving the discharge of firearms on church property in the United States from 1980-2005.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

Variable information for the variables HANDGUNS, SHOTGUNS, RIFLE, AUTO, and EXPLOSIV were not contained in the original documentation; therefore, the values were left unmodified.

To preserve respondent confidentiality, codes for the variable NAMECHUR (Name of Church) has been replaced with blank codes.


Study Design:    This study used online newspaper archive articles to document all cases of shootings on church property within the United States from 1980-2005.

Sample:    The database includes all cases of the discharging of firearms occurring on any church property within the United States from 1980-2005. Circumstances were not taken into account when including the incident into the database and, consequently, not all cases have any wounded or deceased victims.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2010-03-30



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