With fresh data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) causing the predictable odd media reporting, I wanted to post a mini-blog showing what is and what isn’t interesting about the numbers.
Of note, the firearm homicide rate is not rising much. Though is went up significantly in 2016, the firearm homicide rate is still lower than from 2002 through 2007, save one year. If we prematurely assume that 2016 was a fluke year, then realistically speaking the firearm homicide rate remains at multi-decade lows.
Before the self-defense leagues get too excited about the orange bar, the 36% increase in legal interventions is of interest, but not significant. Legal intervention shooting deaths (a.k.a. justifiable or meritorious homicides) make up about 1.3% of all fatal shootings. This is a small number and thus a small increase in the raw numbers looks like a big increase.
That being said, we clearly see that suicides are where most new gun deaths occur. Hard times tend to increase suicide rates, and American suicides have steadily increased 20% since the year before the Great Recession started. But, as we have details before, the presence of a gun does not affect the suicide rate.
Little has changed aside from suicide rates rising (and thus gun suicide rates rising in lock-step) and the accidental firearm death rate continues to plummet, down 50% from the start of the millennia.