CDC report: US gun deaths reach highest level in nearly 40 years

Last year marked a record-high for gun-related deaths in the U.S. in nearly four decades, according to new data released from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's WONDER database.

Nearly 40,000 people were killed by guns last year, according to the data.

The 39,773 recorded deaths from firearms marked an increase of more than 10,000 compared to the 28,874 deaths recorded in 1999.

ADVERTISEMENT

When adjusted for age fluctuations, the estimate represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people — a jump from 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999.

CDC statisticians told CNN that gun deaths have reached a record-high going back to at least 1979, when firearm deaths started to be coded in mortality data.

An estimated 14,542 people are killed in homicides with guns, according to the CDC. 

Last year had previously been deemed the deadliest for mass shootings, following massacres such as the Las Vegas concert shooting and the Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas. 

The steady rise of gun-related suicides also contributed to the record number. An estimated 23,854 people died from suicide using guns in 2017, compared to the 17,352 suicides by firearm recorded in 2007.

The age-adjusted suicide rate by firearm was highest among white men in 2017 at 14 per 100,000 people.

Homicide deaths by firearm affected black men the most, with an age-adjusted rate at 33 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

The CDC study also calculated that 486 gun deaths were unintentional, 338 were undetermined and 553 contributed to legal intervention and operations of war.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was nearly killed during a shooting in 2011, reacted to the CDC report through her gun control organization.

“This data from the CDC reminds us how many lives our gun violence crisis alters every year – and why so many Americans are rising up to demand action,” Giffords said in a statement.

“It’s unacceptable that the number of deaths from shootings keeps escalating while Washington DC refuses to even debate policies we know would help save lives. But activism leads to change and come January, more gun safety champions will be joining Congress and making this public health problem a priority,” she added.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the country's largest gun rights group, said on Twitter that gun control laws are not the answer to preventing gun deaths. 

"If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives," the organization wrote Wednesday.