Young black men and youth accounted for more than a third of the gun killings in the United States in 2019. This is one of several differences revealed by a review of gun mortality data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The analysis, titled “A Public Health Crisis Emerging,” found that while black men and boys ages 15 to 34 make up only 2% of the country’s population, they accounted for 37% of gun murders this year.
That is 20 times higher than for white men of the same age group.
Of all reported gun murders in 2019, more than half of the victims were black men. This emerges from the study carried out by the Education Fund to Combat Gun Violence and the Coalition to Combat Gun Violence. Sixty-three percent of the male victims were black.
The contrast is even clearer when the rates are compared to white people: across all age groups, black men were nearly 14 times more likely to die in a gun murder than white men and eight times more often to die in a gun murder than the general population, including women.
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Black women and girls are also at higher risk. Black women were at the highest risk of being killed by a gun than women of any other race or ethnicity, and were four times more likely to be victims than white women.
“Gun violence has long been a public health crisis in the black community,” said Ed Clark, epidemiologist of the Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University.
The gun violence expert said a “holistic approach” is needed to reduce gun deaths and injuries.
“That should include realizing gun violence as a public health issue. The business of public health is the well-being of the population – and exploring how we can reduce the burden of disease or harm to the population as a whole,” he said. “And gun violence is definitely an issue that should be looked at through that lens.”
According to the analysis, Indians and Alaskan Native Americans were the next highest risk group after the analysis, followed by Latinos and Hispanic Americans.
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The study found that most children and adolescents aged 19 and under who died this year with firearms – 1 in 10 deaths in that age group. That is the second highest sum in two decades.
There is evidence that the number of gun homicides “rose dramatically” in the past year during the pandemic, the authors said, but due to the lack of timely data, “we will not know the extent of the problem for many months.”
The emerging data suggests that black suicides have risen disproportionately, although the study found that the majority of all gun suicide deaths, 73%, were white men. White men were more than twice as likely to die from gun suicide as others.
Sixty percent of all gun deaths in 2019 were suicides. A total of 39,707 people died of gun violence that year.
“Despite the limitations, gun death data is the most reliable type of gun violence data currently available. Gun death is just the tip of the gun violence iceberg. Many more people are shot and survive their injuries, are shot at but not hit.” or witness to armed violence, “says the analysis.” Many experience armed violence in a different way, by living in affected communities, losing relatives to armed violence or being threatened with a weapon.
Contact Nada Hassanein at [email protected] or on Twitter @nhassanein_.