BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — A new study finds that homicide is the leading cause of death in young black men.

The study – conducted by Dr. Charles H. Hennekens of Florida Atlantic University – reveals that more black men between the ages of 15 to 24 die in homicides than deaths attributed to unintentional injuries, suicide, cancer, HIV and other diseases combined.

“Compared to all other developed countries, the overall homicide rates in the United States are about seven times higher and homicide rates from firearms are about 20 times higher,” Hennekens said in a statement. “In 15 to 24-year-olds, firearm homicide rates in the U.S. are about 43 times higher than in other developed countries. Among young black men, the devastation homicide inflicts is a potentially preventable epidemic.”

Hennekens believes that the “constitutional right of individuals to bear arms” should be addressed because of the findings in his study.

“Combating the epidemic of mortality due to firearms without addressing firearms is analogous to combating the epidemic of lung cancer due to cigarettes without addressing cigarettes,” Hennekens said in a statement.

In contrast to the high homicide rate among young black men, the leading cause of death among non-black men and women are car accidents.

Hennekens and his colleagues conclude that “individual behavior change is an important and necessary strategy,” but also state “that major societal changes amenable to responsible government but beyond individual control, are also needed to combat this epidemic.”

The study is published in the current American Journal of Medicine.


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