“This is an example of an unacceptable disparity that has continue to go in the wrong direction,” Dr. Simon said. “It’s possible the stressors associated with the pandemic, which we know hit racial and ethnic communities harder in many areas, could be contributing to these inequities.”
Over all, Black and Hispanic Americans were 13.7 and 2.4 times, respectively, as likely to die in a gun homicide as white people in 2021 — the largest such difference in over a decade, according to the Johns Hopkins analysis.
Suicides involving firearms increased by only 1 percent during the first year of the pandemic but soared in 2021, increasing from 24,292 in 2020 to 26,320 in 2021, the highest one-year increase reported by the C.D.C. and a record high, according to Mr. Davis.
The increase occurred among both men and women, and in most age, racial and ethnic groups.
Gun-related suicides have long been more common among older white men, and in 2021 more than 80 percent of all gun suicides were among white Americans. Those age 45 and older had the highest gun suicide rates.
But Black and Hispanic Americans accounted for the greatest increases in gun suicide rates overall from 2020 to 2021, and Native American and Alaska Native people had the highest gun-related suicide rate among adults under 45 years of age.
Sarah Burd Sharps, senior director of research at Everytown for Gun Safety, called on gun owners to keep firearms locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition and for the implementation of so-called red flag laws that enable the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are in crisis.
“The pandemic continues to cause huge dislocations in everyone’s lives — economic uncertainty, social upheaval, anxiety about our health, loss of routines affecting everyone — and it’s had a particular toll on young people,” Ms. Sharps said.