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CDC says U.S. gun homicides climbed in pandemic’s first year

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In 2014, Bay County saw seven homicides over the span of nine weeks. That spike in gun violence is what pushed the Lead Coalition of Bay County to form.

“To provide opportunities, to get folks out of the rat race that they’re in if you will. That peak in 2014, fortunately, we have not gotten there yet. But we’re feeling upticks,” Janice Lucas, Executive Director of the Lead Coalition of Bay County, said.

Those upticks are being seen nationwide, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data from the pandemic’s first year.

According to the CDC, gun homicides in the U.S. reached their highest level in more than 25 years during the pandemic. There was a nearly 35% jump from 2019 to 2020. Rates increased among people of every age, in most racial groups, for men and women, in cities and in rural areas, and in every region of the nation.

In the study, both killings and suicides with guns were closely tied with poverty.

Florida Health data shows firearm homicides in Bay County increasing since 2018.

“The works that we have to do in Bay County you know is indicated by this data here,” Lucas said. “You know desperate people do desperate things. And if we can begin to work with youth and helping them know that there are many more pathways in Panama City, Bay County, than what they might just see only in their narrow circle.”

No numbers have been released for 2021. But a doctor with the CDC said quote, “firearm deaths are preventable—not inevitable—and everyone has a role to play in prevention.”

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