U.S. gun violence at all time high

January 2019

By Nisa Islam Muhammad | Finalcall.com

The problem of gun violence in the U.S. is only getting worse as 2018 saw more than 300 mass shootings which are defined as incidents in which three or more people were killed. These included shootings at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland, the Thousand Oaks Bar in a Los Angeles suburb and the high schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Parkland, Florida.

And according to new research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER Database, gun deaths were higher in 2017 than any other year since 1968. The CDC found 39,773 people died from gun violence in 2017, an increase of over 1,100 deaths from 2016. That year, in one incident alone, 59 people were killed and hundreds more were injured by suspect Stephen Paddock, 64 in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 as they attended a music festival.

“In 2017, nearly 109 people died every single day from gun violence. Gun violence is a public health epidemic that requires a public health solution, which is why we must immediately enact and implement evidence-based interventions—like permit-to-purchase policies and extreme risk laws,” Adelyn Allchin, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Director of Public Health Research explained in a statement.

“Gun violence has been part of our day-to-day lives for far too long. It is way past time that elected leaders at every level of government work together to make gun violence rare and abnormal.”

The data shows that over the last 10 years, the age-adjusted firearm suicide rate increased 19 percent (from 5.81 to 6.93 deaths per 100,000). Suicide is the greatest killer, accounting for about 60 percent of all gun deaths, almost 24,000 people—killed themselves with a gun, up from 6.1 in 2010 and 5.9 in 2000. Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

“Suicide—especially firearm suicide—is a public health crisis,” explained Ms. Allchin.

“As we consider how to reverse this trend, we must focus on the means by which people die by suicide. We cannot effectively prevent suicide without addressing access to firearms. We know these deaths are preventable, and we have the policy tools—like extreme risk laws—to stop gun suicide. It is up to lawmakers across the country to pass and implement these life-saving policies.”

According to the CDC, the age-adjusted firearm homicide rate increased more than 14 percent (from 4.06 to 4.65 deaths per 100,000) and 14,542 Americans died by gun homicide. More than one-third of all gun deaths (37 percent) were homicides.

The majority of homicides (75 percent) were committed with firearms, 84 percent of firearm homicide victims were male and 59 percent were Black.

“We make up only 13 percent of the population and were 59 percent of the homicides, which makes this statistic even worse. A lot of people would equate it with the mythology of Black on Black crime. They use that to speak to a pathology which doesn’t exist. The truth is people commit crime where they live,” Dr. Wilmer Leon, political scientist and commentator told The Final Call.

“Crime is a product of poverty, lack of education and other issues. If we invest in health care and mental health care gun deaths would be reduced. If we focused on job creation in urban centers you will see a direct decrease in gun violence. People will not be focused on shooting each other. They will have jobs,” he said.

Louisiana had the highest firearm homicide rate (11.85 per 100,000). That state has a Black unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, compared to the White unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.

While many anti-violence activists argue stronger gun laws are the answer to the problem of increasing gun violence, they have failed to be enacted across the country many times due to the strong lobby of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The organization tweeted December 12, “The facts are clear: Gun control laws are not the answer. If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives.”