The United States broke a record for deaths with firearms

To be killed in a street, home or school in the United States it is a common occurrence. A declaration of war is not necessary. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – as the federal Public Health Agency is called in the US – confirm that 2020 was the year with the most deaths caused by firearms among all those on record. A paper published on February 3 by the Pew Research Center, based on those official sources, indicates that 45,222 people were shot dead. According to the think tank, “that figure includes gun murders and suicides, along with three other less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, those that involved police, and those whose circumstances were not known.” they were able to determine. From the record number of two years ago, another one of frightening verification emerges: 54% of all deaths related to weapons in the United States were due to suicides (24,292), while 43% were murders (19,384), according to the CDC . A smaller percentage is contained in other items.

The year of Floyd’s murder

The 45,222 victims of 2020 – the year in which the African-American George Floyd was murdered by the Police and led to a bloody spiral – represented an increase of 14% compared to 2019. But also, if the comparison is made with five years earlier, it rises to 25% and if the statistics that are analyzed are from 2010 it goes up to 43%. Research author John Gramlich wrote: “Nearly eight in ten US murders (79%) during 2020 involved a firearm. That marked the highest percentage since at least 1968, the first year for which the CDC has records online.”

Another piece of information also emerges from the CDC headquarters located in the state of Georgia. Even with the percentage of 13.6 firearm deaths per 100,000 people in 2020 – the highest rate since the mid-1990s – the statistic is still below the peak of 16.3 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants produced in 1974.

The Pew Research Center, which claims to rely on statistics from the CDC and the FBI, among other sources, highlights that the number of firearm suicides has also increased in recent years. 10% in the last five years and 25% if the decade is taken. It approached its highest point on record in 2018, when there were 24,432, up slightly from 2020’s 24,292.

These verifications lead to another field of study, that of how society itself perceives the violent context that surrounds it. Nearly half of Americans (48%) consider gun violence to be a very serious issue today. Within that percentage, in the black community – eight out of ten members, 82% – say that the problem is very big. That perception among Hispanic adults drops to 58% and 39% in whites.

In the US, 53 percent of the population favors more restrictive laws for the use of weapons. But the influential National Rifle Association, the oldest organization in the country founded in 1871 and with great lobbying power, has so far prevented any sharp move against its interests.

Despite this evidence, the Pew research center describes that “the rates of homicide and suicide with firearms in the US remain below their maximum levels. There were 6.2 gun murders per 100,000 people in 2020, down from the rate of 7.2 recorded in 1974. And there were 7.0 gun suicides per 100,000 people in 2020, down from the rate of 7.7 measured in 1977”.

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If the figures are taken for each US state, the main affected by crimes with firearms are: Mississippi (28.6 per 100 thousand people), Louisiana (26.3), Wyoming (25.9), Missouri (23.9) and Alabama (23.6) . Those with the lowest rates include New York (5.3), Rhode Island (5.1), New Jersey (5.0), Massachusetts (3.7), and Hawaii (3.4).

New York, New York

The statistics attributed to the state of New York in 2020, everything indicates that they skyrocketed this year due to the rising violence in the homonymous and most populous city in the country. According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), so far in 2022 almost three dozen police officers have been shot across the US Six of them, according to that source, work in New York. Protests organized by New Yorkers troops led even President Joe Biden to intervene. He attended a meeting of the Gun Violence Strategies Association at New York Police Headquarters on February 3. The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, said he has a plan: “We must hire more police officers and invest in prevention programs in the communities.” Nothing new under the sun.

Pew Research Center argues that “The death rate from guns in the US is much higher than in most other nations, particularly developed ones. But it is still well below the rates suffered by several Latin American countries, according to a 2018 study of 195 nations by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Canada (2.1 per 100 thousand) and Australia (1.0), as well as France (2.7), Germany (0.9) and Spain (0.6) in Europe, show less problematic statistics than the United States. But much poorer countries like El Salvador (39.2 per 100,000 inhabitants), Venezuela (38.7), Guatemala (32.3), Colombia (25.9) and Honduras (22.5) have very high percentages.

mass shootings

An item that complicates the analysis beyond what the news indicates, is that of the mass shootings that have often had students and teachers as victims in study centers of different educational levels. The Pew reports that the FBI collects data on “active shooter incidents,” which it defines as “one or more people actively involved in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

The GVA, the online database that classifies gun violence in the United States, “defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, even if no one is killed (excluding shooters). Using this definition, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020,” the Pew Research Center published earlier this month.

Gun violence in the United States is a dynamic sequence. Although 2020 was the year with the most fatalities since 1968, two-thirds of the most populous cities in the country registered more homicides in 2021 than the previous year. A Google search for gun deaths in the US returns 9.5 million results. Not even a country at war comes close to that figure.

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