Unfortunately, we live in an age of increasingly common gun violence. So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has gotten involved. They have defined the types of firearm injuries as follows:

  • Intentionally self-inflicted – includes suicide or non-fatal self-harm by a firearm
  • Unintentional – fatal or non-fatal firearm injuries without evidence of intention (playing with or cleaning a firearm)
  • Interpersonal violence – includes homicide or non-fatal assault injury by firearm
  • Legal intervention – includes firearm injuries inflicted by law enforcement agents acting in the line of duty (i.e., during an arrest or while maintaining order)
  • Undetermined intent – includes firearm injuries where

there is not enough information to determine the cause

In 2020, there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the U.S., or about 124 people a day. More than half were due to suicide while more than 40% were homicides. Non-fatal firearm injuries are more common than firearm-related deaths, but the number of non-fatal injuries is unknown because the U.S. does not currently have a national surveillance system or database that tracks firearm-related injuries. More than 70% of those treated for firearm-related injuries were wounded in an assault while about 20% have unintentional injuries. Few individuals with intentionally self-inflicted gun injuries are treated in hospitals because survival after a suicide attempt with a firearm is rare. In 2020, firearm-related injuries were among the top five causes of death for those aged one to 44 years in the U.S. Also, in the U.S., males account for 86% of deaths and 87% of non-fatal injuries caused by guns. The highest rates of homicide by firearm are among teens and adults aged 15 to 34 years and among those who are American Indian, Alaskan Native, Black or African American, or Hispanic. The highest rates of suicide by firearm are among adults aged 75 or older and who are American Indian, Alaskan Native, or non-Hispanic White.

Something needs to be done to address this problem. For starters, those who have firearms in their home should: (1) keep the gun unloaded and locked in a safe or with a trigger lock; (2) store and lock ammunition apart from the gun; and (3) ensure that children do not have access to keys or codes to gun safes and trigger locks. In addition, laws need to be changed. Mass shootings, although thankfully rare, are usually conducted by mentally ill young white males and garner a lot of press. Most use legally obtained firearms that were either purchased by them or for them by older adults. Red flag warning laws need to be stiffened to prevent mentally ill individuals from obtaining weapons. Conversely, inner city and gang-related firearm deaths and injuries are conducted by young non-white males. Their weapons are almost always unregistered, illegal or stolen and most of the media ignores this problem. The guns come from the “iron pipeline,” guns legally purchased in states with lax laws, then illegally transported across state lines and sold on the street. Because this problem is an interstate one, only the federal government can fix it. Perhaps a national gun license can be created which will track guns across state lines and hold the buyers accountable. But please, government representatives, do something now!

Questions or comments may be sent to

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *