CDC Reports Gun-Related Deaths, Injuries on the Decline
The number of gun-related deaths and injuries in the United States has declined over the past decade, according to a new report by the CDC. The AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports that gun deaths in the nation dropped more than 25% between 1993 and 1998, the last year for which statistics are available. There were 11.4 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1998, the lowest level of deaths since 1966 and a 26% drop from 1993 figures, the CDC said (McClam, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/13). Meanwhile the number of gun-related injuries fell by nearly 50% during the same period, dropping to 23.9 per 100,000 people in 1998. CDC analysts attributed the declines to stricter sentencing laws for gun-related crimes, new laws that hamper criminals from obtaining guns, low unemployment rates and the "waning crack trade." However, the agency is "concern[ed]" over the "striking rate" of gun-related suicides by elderly men. The CDC found about 27.7 gun suicides per 100,000 people among elderly men, and agency analysts noted that these statistics are likely to rise as the population ages. The gun suicide rate for elderly women, however, was much lower. The CDC also reported that:
- Guns remain the second-leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, trailing auto accidents;
- Five of every six gun death victims were men;
- Men accounted for seven of every eight gun-related injury victims (AP/Washington Times, 4/13);
- African-American men ages 20 to 24 had the highest gun-related fatality rate, more than six times the rate of white men of similar ages and more than three times the rate of "all similarly aged men and women" (Rankin/Bonds Staples, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/13).
The data was collected from emergency rooms and death certificates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. State-by-state statistics were not released (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/13).
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