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Three-Decade Study of Gun Deaths Finds 'Striking Local Differences'

A study of more than a million gun deaths from 1989 to 2019 found particularly marked increases in suicide in the West and Midwest and notable localized increases in gun homicides in the Southeast, The Trace reports. The study was done by a team of researchers led by Dr. Michelle Degli Esposti of the Penn Injury Science Center. Looking at county-level variations in gun violence using the Centers for Disease Control's National Vital Statistics System, researchers found that places experiencing a disproportionate rise of gun homicides — or county hot spots — accounted for a large share of overall gun homicides. “By looking to these striking local differences, we might be able to better understand why some counties show promising improvements, yet others show concerning deteriorations,” Esposti said.


The study noted that firearm homicide rates per 100 000 population in Baltimore almost doubled from 29.71 to 47.43, and by 2015 to 2019 it accounted for 66.7 percent of all firearm homicide in Maryland. By contrast, the adjoining District of Columbia showed promising improvements over time, decreasing from 56.5 firearm homicides per 100 000 in 1989 to 1993 to 14.45 in 2015 to 2019, the study said.

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