Gun deaths increasing after years of decline, study finds

Homicides and suicides involving guns have been increasing, according ...

Posted: Nov 8, 2018 7:06 PM
Updated: Nov 8, 2018 7:06 PM

Homicides and suicides involving guns have been increasing, according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after years of declines in gun deaths.

During 2015-16, 27,394 people were killed by someone with a gun in the United States, and 44,955 used a gun to kill themselves, according to a report published Thursday in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Firearms

Homicide

Shootings

Societal issues

Society

Suicide

Weapons and arms

Continents and regions

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

North America

Politics

The Americas

United States

US federal government

2018 California Thousand Oaks bar shooting

California

Mass murder

Murder

Southwestern United States

Deaths and fatalities

Researchers looked at firearm homicides and suicides from 2012-13 to 2015-16 in the 50 most populous US metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, not far from Wednesday's mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks that left 13 dead, including the suspect.

Nationally, researchers estimate that 4.4 per 100,000 people were killed by someone using a gun in 2015-16. It's a higher rate for the 50 largest metropolitan areas combined, with 4.9 people per 100,000 killed by a gun. This is an increase from 2012-13, when the national rate was 3.7 per 100,000 nationwide and 4.1 per 100,000 for major metropolitan areas.

The rates vary widely by city. For example, there's a higher chance of being killed by a gun in New Orleans than in the Providence, Rhode Island, area. About 1 in 100,000 residents was killed by a gun in Providence and Warwick combined, compared with 16.6 per 100,000 residents in New Orleans.

Nationally, homicide was the 16th-leading cause of death, the new report notes. Guns were used in 74% of those deaths. For children between the ages of 10 and 19, guns were used in even more homicides: 87%.

Men and boys were most often the victims of homicides, accounting for 85% of the firearm deaths.

For suicides, there is also a great variety between cities. Oklahoma City, for instance, saw 13.5 suicides by gun per 100,000 residents, compared with New York, Newark and Jersey City, which combined for a rate of 1.5 per 100,000.

The number of people older than 10 who are using a gun to kill themselves has increased, too. Researchers don't use statistics from gun deaths for children under 10, because those self-inflicted deaths are probably accidentals, according to the report.

Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death for everyone over 10, with guns used in half of all those deaths. It's the second-leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 19, with guns used in 42% of those cases.

Though the gun suicide rate for young people is notably lower than for other age groups, the report finds that those numbers are increasing.

"I rarely take care of a suicide attempt with a gun in the emergency room. The kinetic energy of a bullet is far more effective than taking pills that have a longer duration and more opportunity for intervention," said Dr. Stephen Hargarten, director of the Comprehensive Injury Center, associate dean of the Office of Global Health and a professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Hargarten, who was not involved in the new report, said many groups are working to reduce firearm-related suicides, but it remains "such a challenging area."

The latest increase in gun-related deaths is similar to the rates seen in the 2006-07 time period, the report said. The US has the world's highest rate of gun ownership by civilians, according to research, and the highest rate of gun-related deaths among industrialized countries.

The authors of the new report note that it is "too soon to know" whether this recent increase in gun deaths represents a short-term fluctuation or the beginning of a long-term trend.

Hargarten said he hopes the US government will see an increase in gun deaths in the proper frame, "as a complex biological and sociological disease," and increase funding for research. Gun violence is the least-studied of the top 30 causes of death in the United States, a 2017 study found.

Hargarten said he has seen cities, states and even major medical groups starting to spend more money on this kind of research, but he -- like many others who do research on gun violence -- feels that the federal government needs to "step it up" to figure out what is causing this problem.

"Where is the federal government in all of this? When there are so many deaths, we need to invest in this issue now," Hargarten said. "Look what we did with HIV and AIDS when it was breaking out in the '80s and '90s. The federal government addressed it, and the complexity and the political issues, and it helped groups most at risk, by investing our resources appropriately, and it made a huge difference in that disease process. It's imperative that we do that for guns."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 766351

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1052671804
Lake568691028
Allen42858698
St. Joseph37286568
Hamilton37260426
Elkhart29729470
Tippecanoe23441230
Vanderburgh23153404
Porter19568327
Johnson18807391
Hendricks18059321
Madison13518345
Clark13502198
Vigo12817255
LaPorte12558224
Monroe12529178
Delaware11124198
Howard10654237
Kosciusko9751123
Hancock8734149
Bartholomew8256157
Warrick8053157
Floyd8005181
Grant7349181
Wayne7234201
Boone7173105
Morgan6904142
Marshall6329116
Dubois6270118
Cass6085111
Dearborn600078
Noble597890
Henry5944111
Jackson515677
Shelby509897
Lawrence4914127
Gibson461596
Montgomery457592
Clinton454555
DeKalb453685
Harrison452476
Whitley415345
Huntington414081
Steuben410260
Miami405073
Jasper400455
Knox388091
Putnam384662
Wabash368783
Adams352256
Ripley351071
Jefferson341586
White339354
Daviess3089100
Wells302781
Greene292985
Decatur291693
Fayette285864
Posey280935
Scott278758
LaGrange277172
Clay273148
Washington253537
Randolph247583
Jennings238649
Spencer237931
Fountain234850
Starke229959
Owen222259
Sullivan219543
Fulton207845
Jay202832
Carroll197122
Orange190956
Perry189739
Vermillion180044
Rush177327
Tipton172347
Franklin171935
Parke154816
Pike141434
Blackford137832
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109615
Brown105943
Crawford105516
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8328
Union73510
Ohio58311
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122647

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302911493
Cuyahoga1171502259
Hamilton823481259
Montgomery534491059
Summit488581014
Lucas43734832
Butler39936614
Stark33800937
Lorain25996509
Warren24896312
Mahoning22685612
Lake21457396
Clermont20368260
Delaware19120138
Licking16842227
Trumbull16786491
Fairfield16762207
Medina15832276
Greene15499254
Clark14339308
Portage13417218
Wood13338201
Allen12043245
Richland11726213
Miami10998228
Wayne9251227
Columbiana9196236
Muskingum9119137
Pickaway8738123
Tuscarawas8714254
Marion8703140
Erie8126166
Ashtabula7272179
Hancock7044134
Ross7012165
Geauga6948153
Scioto6679108
Belmont6210179
Lawrence5917104
Union590449
Jefferson5723162
Huron5630122
Sandusky5482130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5362111
Athens526560
Auglaize507087
Mercer490685
Shelby481297
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland443198
Defiance438499
Fulton435775
Putnam4351104
Crawford4110111
Brown409662
Preble3946107
Logan391679
Clinton389266
Ottawa375581
Highland365068
Williams356478
Champaign348360
Guernsey330254
Jackson321254
Perry298350
Morrow294643
Fayette288250
Hardin279165
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251665
Adams249258
Gallia249250
Pike244637
Wyandot235257
Hocking222663
Carroll201249
Paulding179442
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137545
Harrison115238
Morgan111524
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 87°
Angola
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 85°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 87°
Van Wert
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 84°
It's a steamy Wednesday with scattered showers and thunderstorms arriving Wednesday night.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events