Nearly 75,000 Hispanics Have Died by Gunfire in the U.S. Since 2001, Almost Two-Thirds of the Deaths are Homicides, Study Finds

For Release: Wednesday, December 6, 2023

More than 5,700 Hispanics were killed by guns in 2021

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Washington, DC — Nearly 75,000 Hispanics were killed with guns in the United States from 2001 through 2021 according to Hispanic Victims of Lethal Firearms Violence in the United States a new study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. During this 21-year period, 47,119 Hispanics died in gun homicides, 23,686 died in gun suicides, 1,184 died from unintentional gun deaths, and 2,505 died in other firearm deaths.

In 2021, guns claimed 5,741 Hispanic lives. Of these, 3,455 (60 percent) were gun homicides. That year, guns were used in 78 percent of the homicides where the victims were Hispanic. An additional 2,037 Hispanic lives were lost in gun suicides that year. At the same time, the study details how America’s firearms industry and gun lobby, as the result of the saturation of the traditional white male market for guns in the U.S., have targeted Hispanics as a new untapped market for gun sales and hoped-for political power.

The VPC study is available in both English and Spanish and utilizes data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as unpublished information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report.

VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “Guns exact a lethal toll on Hispanics in the U.S., especially among the young. Even worse, because of vast gaps in the way data on Hispanic ethnicity is collected in our nation, the full scope of this ongoing crisis remains unknown. At the same time, the gun industry is now targeting Hispanics as an untapped market, which can only increase death and injury in this community.”


  • In 2021, more than 5,700 Hispanics were killed by guns. That year, 3,455 Hispanics died in gun homicides, 2,037 died in gun suicides, 65 died in unintentional shootings, and 184 died in other circumstances (including legal intervention and undetermined intent).
  • Nearly 75,000 Hispanics were killed by guns between 2001 and 2021. During this period, 47,119 Hispanics died in gun homicides, 23,686 died in gun suicides, and 1,184 died in unintentional shootings.
  • Most Hispanic murder victims are killed with guns. In 2021, 78 percent of Hispanic homicide victims were killed with firearms. The percentage of Hispanic homicide victims killed with a firearm steadily increased during this period, from 64 percent in 2001 to 78 percent in 2021. The latest data show that for homicides where the victim was Hispanic and a gun was used, 64 percent of these shootings involved a handgun — the highest percentage of all races and ethnicities.
  • For Hispanics ages 15 to 24, homicide is the second leading cause of death and suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • Of the 2,037 Hispanic firearm suicide victims in 2021, 1,795 (88 percent) were male and 242 (12 percent) were female.
  • From 2001 to 2021, the female Hispanic firearm suicide rate doubled (from 0.4 per 100,000 to 0.8 per 100,000) and the female Hispanic suicide rate almost doubled (from 1.6 per 100,000 to 3.0 per 100,000).
  • In 2015, the firearms industry and gun lobby launched a coordinated campaign targeting Hispanics and other communities of color in the U.S. to increase gun sales and hopefully increase the political power of the pro-gun movement.
  • As a result of the limitations in current data collection, the total number of Hispanic victims is almost certainly higher than the reported numbers suggest. Government agencies often report data on race but not on ethnic origin. Recognizing the changing demographic landscape in the United States, it is clear that fully documenting such victimization is a crucial step in preventing it.


  • Governmental agencies that collect data on death and injury should obtain complete information on the ethnic origin of individuals in addition to their race. This will ensure complete and accurate data collection on Hispanic victims of lethal violence.
  • Additional efforts should be undertaken to support current violence reduction programs and activities, as well as identify new violence reduction strategies, improve access to resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and identify anti-trafficking measures to help interrupt the flow of illegal firearms to impacted communities. At the same time, relevant organizations and advocates should be made aware of the firearms industry’s marketing efforts targeting the Hispanic community.

The age-adjusted Hispanic homicide and suicide rates published in the report were calculated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rates are calculated by dividing the number of relevant deaths in an age group by the population of that age group and multiplying the result by 100,000. This result is then weighted according to the U.S. Hispanic population. This study does not include Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories.

The complete report in English can be found at

The complete report in Spanish can be found at

Prior editions of the report in both English and Spanish, as well as VPC research focusing on lethal Hispanic victimization in California, can be found at

For more information on how the firearms industry, looking to expand beyond its shrinking base of white male gun owners, has launched an organized marketing campaign focusing on Hispanic and Black Americans, please see the January 2021 Violence Policy Center study How the Firearms Industry and NRA Market Guns to Communities of Color.


The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on X/Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
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