More Suicides Than Homicides in Gun-Related Violence, A UC Davis Study Shows
If you're at all concerned about the prevalence of mass shootings in the country, a newly-published study by University of California, Davis should interest you — the study showed that there were twice more U.S. gun deaths by suicide than homicide, and that the gap between firearm-related homicides and suicides were widening.
According to the study, while the mortality rate for gun violence has remained pretty much constant, most deaths from firearm violence are suicides, not homicides, a pattern persisting for the past three decades. However, it found that in recent years, homicides have decreased, but suicides have increased by a like amount.
In a press release by UC Davis, Garen J. Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the university said:
Suicide by firearm is far more common than homicide. Over the past 30 years, firearm suicides have exceeded homicides even when homicide rates were at their highest in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But, since 2006, the gap between the two has been widening, with firearm homicides decreasing and suicides increasing.
Wintemute analyzed data for firearm homicides and suicides by age, gender and race and ethnicity, according to the press release. His findings were fascinating, revealing some expected and not-so-expected patterns in gun deaths.
In 2012, the latest year for which data is available, suicide among white males accounted for "nearly half of the [total number of] deaths from firearm violence," said Wintemute. He also said that the suicide rate for white men was increasing. Suicide among white females outnumber that of black or Hispanic females of all ages.
However, homicides are remarkably more concentrated among young black men throughout their lives, the study showed. Homicide rates for the black males peaked at age 20 to 24.
The publishing of the study — two days prior to the deeply shocking Sandy Hook shooting — is timely, as President Obama signed into law, on Wednesday, the Omnibus Appropriations Act. The law commits $73 million to combat gun violence, although the study now raised questions as to whether the funding was misplaced.
The study also looked at mass shootings and found that they have an inconsequential contribution to the overall mortality rate from gun violence. Despite that, a Harvard School of Public Health study maintained that mass shootings in public have tripled since 2011, displaying a deeply disturbing trend.
The National Rifle Association's incredible clout in D.C. aside, the gun control movement seems to be making some headway in tightening gun laws. In another study, the Harvard School of Public Health found that, in actual fact, more guns equals more homicides. Whether or not suicides by firearms occur more frequently than homicides, it's clear that something is seriously wrong in America if it's easier to buy a gun than it is to get a barber's license.
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