Fueled by an increase in suicides, the U.S. rate of gun deaths has surpassed the rate of deaths from car accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC's Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database also shows the nation's gun death rate last year, 12.2 per 100,000 people, was the highest since 1996, when it was 12.8 per 100,000. Car deaths were 11.5 per 100,000 in 2017.
The public health database shows that 39,773 people died from firearms last year.
The previous yearly peak of 39,595 was set in 1993 at the height of a U.S. outbreak of firearm-related murder and suicide.
Nearly 60 percent of 2017 gun deaths were self-inflicted. And while the rate of gun homicides has fluctuated over the last decade, the rate of gun suicides has steadily increased.
Suffocation, such as hanging, and poisoning are the next most-frequent methods of suicide, the CDC says.
Experts say that in addition to mental health conditions and prior suicide attempts, other circumstances contributing to suicide include social and economic problems, access to lethal means (e.g., substances, firearms) among persons at risk, and poor coping and problem-solving skills.
In addressing the link between mental health and debt, CreditCards.com, an independent, advertising-supported comparison service, cites data showing the likelihood of having a mental health issue is three times higher among those who are in debt. The website also offers suggestions for how to rebuild financial stability.
In 2013, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper cited the number of suicides by firearm as he signed new gun restrictions into law.
"However many homicides we have each year with handguns, we have about 20 percent more suicides," he said. "That number drops significantly when you have universal background checks."
I’m not sure where the governor got that figure, but it was NOT from the CDC.
- Dr. Gatling