DefinitionThe firearm death rate is defined as the number of deaths attributed to firearm injury per 100,000 population.
NumeratorThe total number of firearm deaths per year.
DenominatorThe estimated mid-year population.
Data Interpretation IssuesFirearm deaths include only NM resident deaths. Deaths for persons of unknown age are not included in age-adjusted rates.
Why Is This Important?Firearm related violence is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In the U.S., more than 39,700 persons died of a firearm injury in 2017, an average of 109 deaths per day.
In 2017, firearm was the third leading cause of injury death in New Mexico after poisoning (28.2 per 100,000) and motor vehicle traffic (18.5 per 100,000) deaths. Firearm injuries contributed significantly to premature mortality in New Mexico , accounting for a total of 12,283 Years of Potential Life Lost (YPPL) before the age of 75 years. Suicide due to firearm injuries ranked as the the sixth leading cause of premature death (6,961 YPPL's) in the state.
Healthy People Objective: IVP-30, Reduce firearm-related deathsU.S. Target: 9.2 deaths per 100,000 population
Other ObjectivesIn 2017, the age-adjusted firearm death rate was 18.4 per 100,000, accounting for 394 deaths among New Mexico residents. From 2013-2017, most firearm deaths were due to intentional self-harm (66.2%), followed by assault (25.6%) and legal intervention (4.6%). Only 1.5% of firearm injury deaths were unintentional.
Firearm was the leading cause of violent death in New Mexico, accounting for 53.2% of intentional self-harm deaths (suicide) and 59.0% of assault deaths (homicide).
How Are We Doing?Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, New Mexico had the 10th highest age-adjusted rate of firearm death in 2017, 18.5 per 100,000 population.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Over the past 18 years, firearm death rates in New Mexico have been consistently higher than U.S. rates. In 2017, the New Mexico firearm death rate was 53% higher than the U.S. rate.
Evidence-based PracticesFirearm ownership rates across the United States and rates of firearms in the home associate positively with firearm mortality rates which also associate with states' firearm laws.^1-6^ Obtaining a license to purchase or possesses a gun is a requirement in 14 states.^7^ Ten of them require a permit-to-purchase (PTP), three require a license to own a firearm, and one state requires proof of successful completion of firearm safety training. Additionally, states' licensing practices often include safety training, and comprehensive background checks required of licensed dealers and unlicensed private sellers, both. States with strong firearm policies had lower firearm mortality rates than states with weaker firearm policies.^1-3^
Thirteen states have proposed and passed legislation for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOS), as of September 2018.^8^ When a person is in crisis, many ERPOS allow family members, household members, and law enforcement officers to seek a court order to temporarily remove firearms from a dangerous situation and reduce the risk of violence. In many cases the warning signs that precede firearm violence are witnessed by spouses, children, relatives and friends to include emotional instability, physical violence, mental illness and verbal threats. After the laws passed in Connecticut and Indiana suicide rates decreased by 14% in Connecticut and 8% in Indiana.^9^
# Kaufman, EJ., Morrison, CN., Branas, CC., and Wiebe, DJ. ''State Firearm Laws and Interstate Firearm Deaths from Homicide and Suicide in the United States, a Cross Sectional Analysis of Data by County.'' JAMA Intern Med. 2018,178(5):692-700.
# Fleegler, EW., Lee, LK., Monuteaux, MC., Hemenway, D., and Mannix, R. ''Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States.'' JAMA Intern Med. 2013,173(9):732-740.
# Kalesan, B., Mobily, ME., Keiser, O., Fagan, JA., and Galea, S. ''Firearm Legislation and Firearm Mortality in the USA: A Cross-sectional, State Level Study.'' Lancet 2016;387:1847-1855.
# Miller, M., Barber, C., White, RA., and Azrael, D. ''Firearms and Suicide in the United States: Is Risk Independent of Underlying Suicidal Behavior?'' Am J Epidemiol. 2013;178(6):946-955.
# Siegel, M. and Rothman, EF. ''Firearm Ownership and Suicide Rates Among US Men and Women, 1981-2013.'' Am J Public Health. 2016;106:1316-1322.
# Anglemyer, A., Horvath, T., and Rutherford, G. ''The Accessibility of Firearms and Risk for Suicide and Homicide Victimization Among Household Members.'' Ann Intern Med. 2014;160:101-110.
# ''Gun Licensing Laws, 2018.'' Accessed online: https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/gun-owner-responsibilities/licensing/
# ''Extreme Risk Protection Orders, 2018.'' Accessed online: https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/extreme-risk-protection-orders/
# Kivisto, A.J., and Phalen, P.L. ''Effects of Risk-Based Firearm Seizure Laws in Connecticut and Indiana on Suicide Rates, 1981-2015.'' Psychiatric Services. doi:10.1176/appi.ps201700250