Firearm Homicide Rate Increased 20 Percent in 2015
Gun Homicides Reach Highest Number Since 1997; Congress Does Nothing to Address Gun Violence
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 21, 2016) – The age-adjusted firearm homicide rate increased 20 percent in 2015 (4.2 per 100,000) from 2014 (3.5 per 100,000). With this increase, firearm homicides reached their highest number – 12,979 – in nearly 20 years*, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics. All rates discussed below are age-adjusted to account for changes in the age distribution of the population.
Overall, there were 36,252 total gun deaths in 2015 (11.1 per 100,000), a nearly eight percent increase in both the total number and the age-adjusted rate as compared to 2014 (33,599 deaths and 10.3 per 100,000, respectively). The firearm suicide rate increased over one and half percent since 2014, totaling 22,018 gun suicides in 2015. Suicides by firearm accounted for 60 percent of all gun deaths in 2015.
“Congress continues to wring their hands while a record number of people are dying,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “The 20 percent increase in the gun homicide rate should serve as a sobering reality for Congress and the incoming Trump administration to come together to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
This past June, a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others in the worst mass shooting in American history at an Orlando, Florida nightclub. December marks the fourth anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead. In 2015, there were roughly 35 gun homicides daily, the equivalent of both an Orlando and a Sandy Hook massacre happening every two days. Despite the fact that polls show between 80 and 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, Congress refuses to pass evidence-based legislation that would help reduce gun violence.
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*Gun homicides totaled 13,252 in 1997.