In the United States, the issue of gun violence has become an increasingly concerning topic, with the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealing alarming statistics. In 2022, 48,117 lives were lost to gun-related incidents, equating to a heartbreaking average of one person every 11 minutes. However, there was a 1.9 percent decrease in the overall gun death rate compared to the previous year, and 713 fewer individuals died from guns in 2022.
The data shows that the surge in gun violence witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. Even though there was a decrease in the gun homicide rate, which fell by 6.8 percent in 2022, about 19,592 people lost their lives to gun homicides during the year. This figure represents the second-highest gun homicide rate since 1995, highlighting the persistence of the problem over the decades. Also, compared to 2019, the gun homicide rate in 2022 remained 35 percent higher.
Had the gun homicide rate remained at 2019 levels, approximately 5,000 lives could have been spared in 2022, the report revealed. Parallel to these statistics, a less-discussed but equally alarming facet of this crisis is the surge in gun suicides.
In 2022, gun suicides reached an all-time high, increasing by 1.6 percent from the record set in 2021. Tragically, 26,993 people succumbed to gun suicides during the year. This trend has been on the rise since 2006, and in 2022, it surpassed all previous records. The gun suicide rate surely demands urgent attention, as it is a critical aspect of the larger gun violence problem.
Another major concern is the impact of gun violence on children and teenagers. Guns have remained the leading cause of death for individuals aged one-19 for the fifth consecutive year. Although there was a slight 3 percent reduction in the gun death rate for this age group in 2022 compared to 2021, it still stands near record highs. The gun death rate among children and teenagers has risen by a staggering 87 percent in the past decade, fueled by both gun homicides and suicides.
These saddening statistics serve as an urgent reminder that the United States must address its gun violence crisis comprehensively. The need for evidence-based policies, community interventions, and a renewed commitment to preventing gun-related tragedies can be the road to a brighter and safer future for Americans.