Suicide is now the most prevalent cause of death in California resulting from the misuse of a firearm, slightly outpacing murder and far outpacing accidents, the latest state figures show.
The number of gun-related murders has fallen sharply in California during the last decade; the number of gun-related suicides has not. About 1,540 Californians killed themselves with a gun in 2012 while about 1,430 were murdered with a gun.
The trend diverges sharply by race. White Californians are about three times as likely as blacks and roughly six times as likely as Hispanics to kill themselves with a firearm. But blacks are 15 times more likely to die from a firearm-related murder than whites; Hispanics are four times as likely.
Age also matters: California white males 50 and older are, by a wide margin, the most likely group to use a firearm to commit suicide.
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This map and chart show the number of firearm-related murders and suicides during the last 10 years, and the California counties with the highest rates of suicide by gun.
Source: California Department of Public Health via
Updated 8/30 to fix population numbers showing wrong in graphic.