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Data

Gun Deaths Inched Up in 2019

The count, which excludes suicides, topped 15,000. Plus: Search our updated map to find incidents of gun violence near you.

At least 15,292 people were fatally shot in The United States in 2019, excluding suicides, according to data gathered by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings. That’s a roughly 3 percent increase over 2018. 

In 2018, gun injuries and deaths had declined for the first time since GVA began collecting data in 2014. The numbers crept higher this past year, but still fell below the peak recorded by the organization in 2017.

Gun Violence Archive collects its data from law enforcement data and media reports, so these figures should be considered a preliminary accounting. As more data becomes available throughout the year, the nonprofit’s final counts of fatalities and injuries may change slightly. 

Importantly, the nonprofit’s data does not include most suicides, which make up the majority of gun deaths. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release an authoritative count of 2019 gun deaths, including suicides, late this year or in early 2021.) 

The number of nonfatal firearm injuries tallied by the organization grew to 29,613, a 5 percent increase over the previous year. While GVA’s fatality data tracks closely with the official tallies published by the CDC, its nonfatal injury counts are significantly lower than estimates produced with different methodologies. The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, which collects emergency department admissions data directly from nearly 1,000 hospitals, estimated 76,000 firearm injuries in 2016 (the most recent year available), more than double GVA’s figure for the same year. The CDC’s nonfatal firearm injury estimates also trend higher than GVA’s, although the agency suppressed its two most recent estimates after The Trace reported on the data’s unreliability.

The 2019 data suggests that mass shootings — defined by GVA as incidents in which four or more people are shot — are also on the rise. Nearly 5 percent of the injuries and deaths recorded by the site last year occurred during mass shootings, compared with just under 4 percent in 2018.

Shootings of children and teens also rose slightly, with the site tallying 3,771 victims under the age of 18 killed or injured. In 2018, that number was 3,539, and in 2017 it was 3,991.

These aggregate figures allow us to follow broad trends in gun violence over time, but obscure the thousands of stories underlying the numbers. For a more detailed look at the geography of gun violence, The Trace has mapped the 34,000 shooting incidents recorded by GVA last year, along with more than 150,000 others spanning the past half-decade. On this interactive page, you can look up your home address or community to get a fuller sense of how gun violence has shaped your immediate surroundings. 

On the map, you’ll find the mass shootings that made last year’s headlines — like those in El Paso, Texas; Gilroy, California, and Dayton, Ohio — but also the thousands of incidents of everyday violence that make up the vast majority of shootings in America, but rarely get the coverage they deserve.