DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The CDC released a new report ,“CDC Vital Signs Analysis,” that shows firearm homicide rates across the country significantly increased from 2019 to 2020. The report states 2020 marked the highest death rate from guns in 25 years.

The CDC said firearms were involved in 79% of all homicides and 53% of all suicides in 2020. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a historic increase of 35% in the firearm homicide rate, marking the highest rate in 25 years. Additionally, the report states an increase in firearm suicide rates for some groups, including an increase in 2020 among 10- to 44-year-old Americans. 

Among the key findings for firearm homicides:

  • Rates increased for both males and females, but more notably among males   
  • The highest rates and increases occurred among non-Hispanic Black people
  • Rates increased across the country in large and small metro areas, as well as non-metro and rural areas
  • Rates were higher and showed larger increases in counties with higher poverty levels

Here in the Miami Valley, the Darke County Sheriff’s Office said in 2019 and 2020 they had one suicide by firearm each year. Sheriff Mark Whittaker said many of their deputies are certified through crisis intervention training to respond to mental health calls, but is asking for the public to never think twice about calling for help.

“I would ask anyone who is even thinking about such a suicide or thinking about those things should reach out and talk to someone,” said Sheriff Whittaker. “Stop what they’re doing, this is a serious issue for them and there are people out there willing to listen and help with their problems if they’ll give us a chance.”

The brief report rates increase among men and women, but more notably in males.