Study finds wide disparities in causes, locations of fatalities
Firearms deaths are at their highest level in nearly 30 years, a new study finds, but the number of fatalities and the reasons for them vary according to race, ethnicity, gender, age and location.
Researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to analyze trends in the approximately 1.1 million firearms-related deaths that occurred in the U.S. between 1990 and 2021. They found that the number of fatalities, including both homicides and suicides, declined from 14.9 to 10.1 per 100,000 persons between 1990 and 2004. But they began climbing again in 2005, and by 2021 had reached a 28-year high of 14.7 fatalities per 100,000 persons, a 45.5% increase.
Along with the growing number of deaths from firearms, the authors discovered significant differences in who was dying and why. Among their findings:
The authors say their findings suggest that state-level interventions could help stem the increase in gun-related violence. They note that states with stronger child access-prevention laws, more comprehensive background checks and more gun purchase regulations had fewer deaths due to firearms. In addition, public health approaches to reducing firearm violence need to account for underlying demographic and geographic trends and differences by intent.
The study, “Trends and Disparities in Firearm Fatalities in the United States, 1990-2021” was published November 29 in JAMA Network Open.