Deaths caused by firearms in the U.S. have reached the highest level in decades, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the data, 39,773 people were killed by guns in the U.S. in 2017, making it the highest number recorded since 1979, the earliest date the CDC started tracking gun deaths.
The study showed that the number of deaths in 2017 increased by more than 10,000 from 28,874 in 1999.
In both data sets, the people who chose to commit suicide with firearms made up the majority of the toll. In 2017, some 23,854 killed themselves with firearms, an increase of more than 7,000 compared to 16,599 in 1999.
White men led the number of suicides with 18,759 deaths, followed by 2,981 white women and 1,322 black men.
When it came to homicide however, black men suffered a higher number of casualties.
Some 7,661 black men were fatally shot in 2017, followed by 4,289 white men.
Published shortly before the 6th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, one of the worst shootings in U.S. history in which 26 victims were killed, the report reignited the old gun control debate in the nation.
"In 2017, nearly 109 people died every single day from gun violence. Gun violence is a public health epidemic that requires a public health solution, which is why we must immediately enact and implement evidence-based interventions," the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence said in a statement.
Like before, the National Rifle Association rebuked calls for tighter firearm laws by saying gun control was not the answer.
"The facts are clear: Gun control laws are not the answer. If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives," the organization tweeted.
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