Gun Deaths in 2021 Reached Their Highest Rates in Three Decades, According to CDC Data Released This Week
CHICAGO — This week, the CDC released new data showing that firearm deaths continued to soar last year, following a nearly 35% increase in gun homicides from 2019 to 2020. In 2021, firearm homicides were more than 8% higher than the devastating 2020 numbers. From 2020 to 2021, gun suicides also increased more than 8% for people over age 10. This dramatic shift in gun deaths mirrors another pandemic trend – rising gun sales. As The New York Times reported:
Americans went on a gun-buying spree in 2020 that continued into 2021, when in a single week the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a record 1.2 million background checks.
Purchasers often turn to handguns for self-protection, but research has shown that having a firearm in the home dramatically raises the risk of gun death, including both homicides and suicides.
“More guns lead to more deaths,” said Nina Vinik, founder and executive director of Project Unloaded. “We all want to feel safe in our homes and communities, but when that desire for safety results in someone getting a gun, we are all less safe. The latest CDC data is inextricably linked to rising rates of gun ownership. As decades of research on gun violence makes clear, where there are more guns, there is more violence.”