Breaking News
More () »

'This is a problem we need to fix' | Firearm fatalities soar, new research finds

The study found disparities between men and women and by racial and ethnic groups.

NORFOLK, Va. — Nearly 200 people have gotten shot and killed this year across Hampton Roads.

But our area isn’t alone when it comes to fighting gun violence.

Newly published research found gun deaths hit a record high in the United States in 2021.

“In 2021, we had the largest number of people killed by guns in our country in the history outside of war literally in our own country. Nearly 50,000 people died. This is a problem we need to fix," Dr. Eric Fleegler said. 

Dr. Chris Rees from Emory University and Dr. Eric Fleegler from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School were among the researchers who studied trends and disparities in gun deaths in the United States from 1990 through 2021.

“Over this 32 year period, there were just a massive number of individuals who lost their lives from firearms," Rees said.

The research found disparities in the rates of firearm fatalities that varied by sex, race, ethnicity and region.

“Women, in particular black women, have had the highest increase in firearm homicides," Fleegler said.

In Hampton Roads this year, at least 26 women have been shot and killed.

They were wives and mothers, college students and Wal-Mart workers. They are all part of a growing trend nationwide.

“Firearm deaths are preventable deaths; these are not deaths that need to happen," Fleegler said. 

Researchers wrote that addressing the problem will require “a range of efforts," including “targeted interventions" and “state-level legislation.”

“If we want truly tackle the problem of firearm fatalities in our country, it’s going to take multiple efforts and these are multiple efforts that are going to have to be fine-tuned to the individuals and the communities where they’re taking place," Fleegler explained.

“What I think our paper really adds is it shows where a violence intervention program, both geographically and demographically, may be most beneficial and needed," Rees said.

In Hampton Roads, homicides across the region are nearing record levels this year, and the vast majority of those victims were shot.

The research, published November 29, 2022, took a look at firearm fatalities of all types, including suicide and homicide. Click here to read the full study and learn more about their findings. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out