Gun deaths in America have reached a record high, according to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database.

Nearly 40,000 people in the United States died by guns last year, the highest rate since 1979, the year data collection for such deaths began. Firearm deaths in the data include gun deaths by homicide and suicide, unintentional deaths, deaths in war or legal interventions, and deaths that are undetermined.

When the data are analyzed by race and gender, they show that white men made up 23,927 of the total 39,773 firearm deaths last year, including suicides.

In 2017, the age-adjusted rate of suicide deaths by firearm was highest among white men at 14 per 100,000 — compared with:

  • 2.2 among white women
  • 6.1 among black men
  • 0.7 among black women
  • 3.0 among Asian men
  • 0.5 among Asian women
  • 9.3 among American Indian or Alaska Native men
  • 1.4 among American Indian or Alaska Native women

That same year, the age-adjusted rate of homicide deaths by firearm was highest among black men at 33 per 100,000 — compared with:

  • 3.5 among white men
  • 1.1 among white women
  • 3.5 among black women
  • 1.4 among Asian men
  • 0.5 among Asian women
  • 4.8 among American Indian or Alaska Native men
  • 1.2 among American Indian or Alaska Native women

Also in 2017, the age-adjusted rate of firearm deaths in legal interventions or war was highest among American Indian or Alaska Native men at 1.1 per 100,000 — compared with:

  • 0.3 among white men
  • 0.0 among white women
  • 0.5 among black men

Rates for all other groups were either unreliable or not recorded.

In a written statement, Adelyn Allchin, the director of public health research for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, called gun violence a public health epidemic that requires a “public health solution.”

“(That) is why we must immediately enact and implement evidence-based interventions — like permit-to-purchase policies and extreme risk laws,” Allchin said.

On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association tweeted  that gun control laws are not the answer to the gun violence issue.

“If we want to prevent more horrific acts of violence our leaders need to stop demonizing the men and women of the @NRA and find solutions that will save lives,” the NRA tweet read.