US gun deaths up 20% from 2019, study finds

For Black women, the rate of gun-related homicides has more than tripled since 2010, and the rate of gun-related suicides has more than doubled since 2015.

NEW YORK — The gun fatality rate in the United States last year hit its highest level in nearly three decades, and it increased faster among women than men, according to a study published Tuesday.

The rise in women – most notably among Black women – is playing a tragic and unrecognized role in a tally that has overwhelmed men, say the researchers.

One of the authors, Dr. Eric Fleegler of Harvard Medical School, said: “Women can get lost in the discussion because so many of the deaths are male.

Among Black women, the rate of gun-related homicides has more than tripled since 2010, and the rate of gun-related suicides has more than doubled since 2015, Fleegler et al. his author wrote in the paper published by JAMA Network Open.

David Hemenway, director of Harvard University’s Center for Injury Control Research, said the study was one of the most comprehensive analyzes of gun deaths in the US in years.

In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data on gun deaths in the United States last year, with more than 47,000 — the most in at least 40 years.

The US population is growing, but the gun death rate is also getting worse, researchers say. Gun homicide and suicide rates in the US both increased by 8% last year, both reaching levels not seen since the early 1990s.

In the new study, the researchers looked at trends in gun deaths since 1990. They found that gun deaths began to rise steadily in 2005, but the increase has accelerated more recently. , with a 20% increase from 2019 to 2021.

Why has the number of gun deaths spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s “a simple question with a complicated answer that no one really knows the answer to,” said Fleegler, an emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Experts say factors may include disruption to people’s work and personal lives, higher gun sales, stress and mental health issues.

The researchers counted more than 1.1 million gun deaths in those 32 years — about the same number of deaths in the US from COVID-19 over the past three years.

About 14% of those killed by guns are women, but the increase among them is more pronounced. There were about 7 gun deaths per 100,000 women last year, up from about 4 per 100,000 in 2010 — a 71% increase. The equivalent increase for men is 45%, the rate rising to about 26 per 100,000 from about 18 per 100,000 in 2010.

For Black women, the gun suicide rate rose from about 1.5 per 100,000 in 2015 to about 3 per 100,000 last year. Their homicide death rate last year was more than 18 per 100,000, compared with about 4 per 100,000 for Hispanic women and 2 per 100,000 for white women.

The highest gun homicide rate continues to occur among young Black men, at 142 per 100,000 for those in their 20s. The researchers say the death rate from gun suicides highest in white men in their 80s, at 45 per 100,000.

In a commentary accompanying the study, three University of Michigan researchers said the paper confirmed racial and gender differences in US gun deaths and homicides. concentrated in cities while suicides are more common in rural areas.

“Gun violence is a growing problem in the United States,” they wrote, and will take a lot of effort to bring under control. US gun deaths up 20% from 2019, study finds

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