November 13, 2018

The decades-long fall in gun deaths has ended, according to CDC

Daily Briefing

    The rate of firearm-related deaths in the United States increased in 2015-2016, after declining for more than two decades, according to CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published Thursday.

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    For the report, CDC researchers examined firearm-related homicides and suicides in 50 of the most populous U.S. metropolitan areas during 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 by using mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Rates of firearm-related suicides, homicides increase

    Overall, the researchers found during 2015-2016:

    • 44,955 firearm-related suicides occurred among all U.S. residents; and
    • 27,394 firearm-related homicides occurred among all U.S. residents.

    According to the researchers, the data show firearm-related homicides among all U.S. residents have "returned to levels comparable to those observed during 2006–2007," after declining across the United States and in large metropolitan areas.

    The researchers also found suicides related to firearms have continued to rise among U.S. residents ages 10 and older across the United States and in large metropolitan areas.

    According to the researchers, about 85% of firearm-related suicides and homicides affected men.

    Findings on firearm-related suicides

    The researchers found annual rates of firearm-related suicides declined by 7% from 1999 to 2006, but increased by 21% from 2006 to 2016. The researchers noted that the increase coincided with the economic downturn between 2007 and 2008, but they found the rise in firearm-related suicides has continued since the Great Recession ended.

    When looking at the metropolitan areas reviewed for the study, the researchers found that the:

    • Rate of firearm-related suicides increased from 5.6 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 5.8 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016; and
    • Rate of firearm-related suicides for individuals between the ages of 10 and 19 increased from 1.5 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 1.9 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016.

    When looking at the entire United States, the researchers found that the:

    • National rate of firearm-related suicides increased from 7.4 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 7.7 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016; and
    • National rate of firearm-related suicides for U.S. residents between the ages 10 and 19 increased from 2.1 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 2.5 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016.

    The researchers found that the rates of firearm-related suicide by metropolitan area ranged from 1.5 per 100,000 residents per year in New York-Newark-Jersey City to 13.5 per 100,000 residents per year in Oklahoma City.

    Findings on firearm-related homicides

    The researchers also found that the:

    • Combined rate of firearm-related homicides for the metropolitan areas reviewed for the report increased from 4.3 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 4.9 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016; and
    • National rate of fire-related homicides increased from 3.4 per 100,000 residents per year during 2012-2013 to 4.4 per 100,000 residents per year during 2015-2016.

    The researchers noted firearm-related homicide rates during 2015-2016 ranged from 1.1 per 100,000 residents per year in Providence-Warwick to 16.6 per 100,000 residents per year in New Orleans-Metairie.

    Reasons for the increases

    According to the researchers, one "factor likely affecting both firearm homicide and suicide is access to firearms by persons at risk for harming themselves or others." The researchers wrote, "Reducing access to lethal means during an acute suicidal crisis by safely storing firearms or temporarily removing them from the home can help reduce suicide risk, particularly among youths."

    The researchers wrote, "It is too soon to know whether recent increases in firearm homicide rates represent a short-term fluctuation or the beginning of a longer-term trend" (Knowles, Becker's Hospital Review, 11/9; Heredia Rodriguez, Kaiser Health News, 11/9; CDC's MMWR, 11/9; Smith, CBS News, 11/9).

    Step-by-step emergency preparedness plans

    Hospitals must be prepared for myriad disasters that can stress health care systems to the breaking point and disrupt delivery of vital health care services.

    Advisory Board has compiled step-by-step procedures for various threats your facility may encounter—though we hope you'll never need to use them.

    Download the Resources

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