(The Center Square) – Suicides are the overwhelming majority of gun deaths in New Mexico, a new report shows.
Data released by the New Mexico Department of Public Health found that in 2020, at least 64% of all violent gun deaths involving a firearm in New Mexico were suicides. That was about double the number that were homicides with firearms (32%). Meanwhile, only 3% of these deaths were the result of legal intervention, including people being shot and killed by police officers.
Additionally, the state saw a 10% increase in its suicide by firearm rate from 2018 to 2021. During that stretch, the rate increased from 12.6 per 100,000 people to 13.9 per 100,000 people.
Although suicides by firearm are on the rise, homicides are the chief driver of the state’s increasing gun violence. New Mexico saw its firearm death rate increase by 87% from 2010 to 2021, according to the report.
“The findings of this report are clear: New Mexico faces an urgent firearm-related injury crisis,” Patrick Allen, Secretary for the DOH, said in a press release. “The alarming surge in firearm-related injuries and deaths revealed in this report demands our immediate attention. We must work together as a community to implement effective interventions that will save lives and reduce the economic burden on our healthcare system.”
While the report does not focus on policy prescriptions, it said a lack of safe storage and increases in drug and alcohol dependence are issues that contribute to the state’s gun deaths.