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CDC Study: Firearm Homicides Decrease in Major Cities, Suicides Increase

PHOTO: The CDC says there were more than 22,000 firearm homicides and 38,000 firearm suicides between 2009 - 2010. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
PHOTO: The CDC says there were more than 22,000 firearm homicides and 38,000 firearm suicides between 2009 - 2010. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
August 5, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Firearm homicide rates dropped in major metropolitan areas between 2006 and 2010, but more people used guns to commit suicide, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.

According to Dr. Jim Mercy, a behavioral scientist with the CDC's Division of Violence Prevention, older, white Americans are most likely to use a gun to commit suicide, and the increase in firearm suicides coincided with the recession.

"So, it's quite possible - although suicide is caused by many factors - that the changes in unemployment rates that have occurred are associated with increases in the firearm suicide rates in these urban areas," he said.

Mercy said the CDC conducted the study because gun violence continues to be a major public health issue, and remains a leading cause of death among young people in the United States.

"Among 10- to 19-year-olds, homicide is the second-leading cause of death and suicide the third, and firearms are the primary mechanism used to commit homicide and suicide."

The report shows a decrease in homicide by guns in the Philadelphia metro area from 899 to 729 between 2006 and 2010. Suicides by guns dropped from 483 in 2006 to 478 in 2010, bucking the national trend.

More information on that study is at CDC.gov.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA