New CDC Data Reveals Persistently High Rates of U.S. Gun Deaths
WASHINGTON – The overall gun death rate in the U.S. increased 17% from 2010 to 2019, according to newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A joint review of CDC data by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and sister organization Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence found increases in both homicide and suicide rates contributed to the overall change; in that time period, the firearm homicide rate increased 26% and the firearm suicide rate increased 12.5%.
Major findings from CSGV and the Ed Fund include:
In 2019, there were 39,707 gun deaths in the U.S., of which
- Approximately three in five were suicides, and 36% were homicides.
- 3,390 were children and teens (ages 0-19 years).
- 86% were male.
- Massachusetts had the lowest gun death rate, while Alaska had the highest.
In 2019, there were 14,414 firearm homicides.
- 84% of gun homicide victims were male.
- Black males aged 15-34 had a gun homicide rate nearly 17 times higher than white (non Latino) males of the same age group.
- 37% of gun homicide victims were Black teens and men between the ages of 15-34 – although they make up only 2% of the U.S. population.
- Massachusetts had the lowest firearm homicide rate, while Mississippi had the highest.
In 2019, there were 23,941 firearm suicides.
- 86% of firearm suicide decedents were male.
- Firearm suicide risk was highest among non-Latino white men age 75 and older. For men of every other racial and ethinic identity, firearm suicide risk peaked at ages 20-34.
- The firearm suicide rate has been growing over the last decade. While 2019 showed a slight reprieve with 491 fewer firearm suicides reported than in 2018, suicide (by any method) continues to be the 10th leading cause of death in the country and firearms continue to account for half of all suicides.
- New Jersey had the lowest firearm suicide rate, while Wyoming had the highest.
“What’s obvious from today’s data is that gun violence in the U.S. remains persistently high, and lives will continue to be lost needlessly without meaningful national leadership,” said CSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz. “To stem this tide, we need to adopt a comprehensive public health approach to gun violence prevention that includes robust legislation and funding from Congress and executive action from the new administration. Additionally, the fact that we are just getting 2019 data now is unacceptable. Delays in data dissemination make it harder for us to understand and address gun violence. There are indications that homicides have risen dramatically in 2020 and emerging data suggests there may be a disproportionate rise in suicides among Black people, but because the U.S. lacks a standard and timely system for collecting and reporting gun deaths, we won’t know the full scale of the problem for many months to come.
“We cannot solve a problem we cannot quantify, and without timely data, we lack the information we need to make the best possible decisions.”
Among other urgent recommendations, CSGV calls for the White House to help improve how firearms data is collected by:
- Directing the CDC to create a uniform standard for local law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners to conduct and document death investigations.
- Directing the National Center for Health Statistics to track national firearm mortality on a quarterly and monthly basis using the Vital Statistics Rapid Release program.
- Directing the Office of Management and Budget to establish guidance on establishing reliable, timely dissemination of firearms data.
Visit the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence website for additional 2019 statistics and the PreventFirearmSuicide.com project for detailed data on firearm suicide.
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