SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Throughout recent years, gun violence has skyrocketed in the United States and in Utah.

Analysts saw a declining trend of violent crime in the mid-1990s, but incidents have been on the rise again. According to a new report by BackgroundChecks.org, FBI data recently showed a 5.6% increase in violent crime from 2019 to 2020. While the murder rate rose by roughly 30%, one of the largest annual jumps on record.

Guns have proven to be a responsible factor in regards to these trends, as America has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership of any country. Researchers have correlated the presence of guns in communities with higher amounts of violent crime and gun deaths. 

As stated in the study, there were only 3.5 gun-related homicides per 100,00 population in 2014. That statistic rose to 4.6 in 2016, and 6.2 by 2020. Gun-related suicides have also been more frequent, jumping from a low of 5.5 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 7.0 in 2020. 

The study reports that 45,221 deaths in 2020 were gun-related – a 14% increase over the prior year and a 43% increase over the past decade. Over the past two years, around 76% of U.S. homicides involved a gun. 

However, gun-violence trends seem to differ from state to state. Many of the states with the highest gun ownership rates also have the highest gun-related deaths. The Mountain West region falls into this category. 

So, how are Utah’s gun-violence trends different from the rest of the nation? Below follows a summary of the studies on Salt Lake County findings:

  • There were 14.2 gun-related deaths for every 100,000 Salt Lake County residents in 2020
  • Total gun-related deaths per 100k: 14.2
  • Total gun-related deaths: 165
  • Change in gun-related deaths since 2019: +16.2%
  • Gun-related homicides as a share of total homicides: 64.2%
  • Gun-related suicides as a share of total suicides: 47.4%

For reference, a summary of the nationwide data follows:

  • Total gun-related deaths per 100k: 13.6
  • Total gun-related deaths: 45,221
  • Change in gun-related deaths since 2019: +13.9%
  • Gun-related homicides as a share of total homicides: 76.4%
  • Gun-related suicides as a share of total suicides: 51.2%