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US Gun-Related Deaths Have Hit Highest Levels in Nearly 30 Years, New Data Reveals

© AP Photo / M. Spencer Green, FileIn this July 22, 2010, file photo, various guns are displayed at the Chicago FBI office
In this July 22, 2010, file photo, various guns are displayed at the Chicago FBI office - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.11.2022
Gun Sales in the United States increased significantly during the pandemic, with 2020 and 2021 having the highest and second-highest gun buy rates in the nation’s history respectively. More than 21.5 Million guns were sold in the US in 2020 and more than 18.8 Million were sold in 2021.
Firearm-related deaths are the highest they have been in the United States in nearly 30 years, newly released data has revealed.
A study released Tuesday by JAMA Network Open has detailed that there were 1,110,421 deaths caused by firearms between 1990 and 2021, a figure that accounts for intentional and accidental deaths as well as suicides and homicides.
According to the study, gun deaths in the United States reached a low of 10 per 100,000 people in 2004, but by 2021 that number had risen more than 45% to 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The study showed a 40% increase in homicides and a 17% increase in suicides compared to 2004 levels.
The biggest jump came during the pandemic. In 2020 and 2021 there was a 25% increase in firearm deaths compared to figures recorded before the pandemic.
Eric Fleegler, one of the study’s authors and an emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital blames the deaths on economic strife during the pandemic and a lack of mental health resources.
However, as The Hill points out, the stats also correspond with an increase in gun ownership in the United States. A previous study found that 5 million Americans became gun owners for the first time between January 2020 and April 2021.
It also appears to correlate with a rise in violence by police officers. According to a special report released in 2007 by the Justice Department, between 365 and 369 deaths happened to suspects during or after an arrest due to police officer actions in 2004. By contrast, 1,035 people were fatally shot by police officers in 2021, according to the Washington Post which started tracking police shootings in 2015.
The JAMA study also highlighted the disparities in gun-related deaths by race and gender. It states that non-Hispanic white men between the ages of 80 and 84 were most likely to die from suicide, with 46 per 100,000 people in that group dying through firearm suicide in 2021.
Meanwhile, non-Hispanic Black men aged 20 to 24 are most likely to die as a result of homicide by firearm, with 141.8 per 100,000 in that group dying in that manner. That is 22.5 times more likely than non-Hispanic white males of the same age who were killed by a firearm homicide at a rate of 6.3 per 100,000.
Young Hispanic males fell between the two groups, coming in at 22.8 deaths per 100,000 people.
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