Gun Deaths Hit Record Highs in 2021
Statistics reveal a disturbing increase in suicides and gun deaths in the U.S. in recent years
Deaths caused by guns in the United States continued to rise significantly throughout 2021. According to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number stands at 48,832. Last year now holds the single highest year record, growing 8% from the prior record in 2020 where 45,222 people died due to gun-related injuries.
The CDC follows mortality data with death certificates that are recorded by states, so the original data may change before it is concluded in early 2023. Gun deaths are now the 12th biggest causality of death in the United States, passing car accidents for the fifth year in a row, while climbing a spot from being 13th in 2020. The age-adjusted gun deaths were 14.8 for 100,000 individuals in 2021, which was the highest since 1993.
Pandemic Spikes Gun Suicides
“People are dying by guns at an extraordinary rate,” said Eric Fleegler, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. Fleegler, who has been studying gun deaths for over a decade, suggested the across-the-board turmoil was brought on by Covid-19, in addition to a gun-buying overflow that put more than 40 million guns in homes in 2020 and 2021. “The data has been very clear over the years. Where there are more guns, there are more deaths,” he stated.
Gun suicides had the largest increase in a year since 1968. Over 26,000 individuals took their lives by guns, which was 54 percent of all gun deaths in 2021. Researchers allocated the number to upheavals in health care and increased openness to guns, specifically with first-time owners. Fleegler pointed out a 2020 Stanford University study that stated an increase in suicide risks related to California residents in the month after they purchased their first firearm. “The mental health crisis cannot be underestimated in the United States right now,” Fleegler said. “And our inability to give people support that they need is certainly exacerbating it.”
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