Unlike most other causes of death, homicide has been increasing in the United States, especially since the mid-1960s. Its impact is greatest among nonwhite men. The elimination of homicide would add approximately one and one-half years to their life span. This analysis examines trends and differentials using vital statistics data about homicide victims. A decomposition of components of change reveals that almost all of the rise in homicide mortality among nonwhites and a substantial fraction of the rise among whites results from the increasing use of firearms to kill people.