U.S. Latinos killed in gun-related incidents far more frequently than whites, study finds

Since 1999, more than 50,000 Latinos have been killed by guns – a number far higher than that for whites – according to a recent study.

Between the years of 1999 and 2014, 50,456 Hispanics were killed by guns, with two-thirds of those deaths being homicides and 29 percent suicides. There were also 944 gun-related deaths, or about 2 percent, deemed unintentional, and 1,549 (3 percent) having an undetermined intent or the result of legal intervention, according to the report by the Violence Policy Center.

Researchers also believe the number could be much higher as there are limitations in the way public agencies collect information on Latino ethnicity.

“The lethal toll of gun violence on Hispanics, especially young Hispanics, is clear. Yet because of vast gaps in the way data is collected, our ability to fully understand this ongoing crisis and effectively address it is limited,” VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann said in a statement.

Overall, the “homicide victimization rate” for Latinos is almost double that for whites. Also alarming was the finding that the large majority of Hispanics killed by guns were young men.

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The study found that homicide is the second leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 15 to 24, while for whites in that age group, homicide is the fourth-leading cause of death. The most recent available data shows 38 percent of Hispanic victims in 2013 were age 24 and younger, while, in comparison, 21 percent of white homicide victims were age 24 and younger.

“Community leaders and policymakers working to reduce violence in their communities need not only our strong and continued support, but the best information possible,” Sugarmann said.

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