Here's the Truth About Who's Being Killed with Guns in the U.S.

June 20th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

There are plenty of anti-gun control memes on the internet either arguing that guns make homes safer, or blaming irresponsible people for guns deaths instead of access to guns.

Meme about gun violence.

A meme about guns.

However, these memes don't address new information about the youngest victims of gun violence.

A new and important study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that thousands of kids are shot every year, and most of them aren't accidents.

The study published in the July issue of Pediatrics analyzed data from 2002 to 2014 and found that an estimated 1,297 children ages 17 and younger die from a gunshot-related injury, and another 5,790 end up in hospitals because of gunshot injuries. The researchers found that 53 percent of the deaths were homicides and 38 percent were suicides, with boys and minorities being disproportionately killed. From 2012 to 2014, black children were four times more likely to be killed than Latino children and 10 times more likely to be killed than white children. However, Native American and white children were more likely to die from suicide with a firearm.


Although older children and teens were more likely to die "in the context of crime and violence," young children often died in a situation involving a parent's intimate partner or a domestic fight.

"Firearm homicides of younger children were significantly more likely to be intimate partner violence-related (i.e., related to conflict between intimate partners, such as violence between parents), to be incidents in which the victim was a bystander, to be related to a recent or impending crisis, and/or to be precipitated by family relationship problems," the authors wrote.

ATTN: previously reported how thousands of women in the U.S. have had a partner threaten them with a gun. And guns inside the home increase the risk of homicide and suicide.

Congress has historically created obstacles for firearm research.


The study is also significant because of the political context surrounding it. In the 1990s, politicians, often backed by the National Rifle Association, passed legislation aimed at stripping the CDC of funding for firearms research. There is currently less than $5 million dollars spent on gun research per year, according to The Trace.

“The CDC is there to look at diseases that need to be dealt with to protect public health,” retired Republican congressman John Boehner, who was the House Speaker at the time, reportedly said at a press conference in 2013. “I’m sorry, but a gun is not a disease. Guns don’t kill people—people do. And when people use weapons in a horrible way, we should condemn the actions of the individual and not blame the action on some weapon.”

In the wake of the 2015 South Carolina church shooting, Congress rejected an amendment that would have allowed the CDC more funding for gun research.

However, in their recent report, the CDC researchers contend that gun violence is absolutely a public health issue.

"Pediatric firearm injuries and deaths are an important public health problem in the United States, contributing substantially each year to premature death, illness, and disability of children," wrote the researchers. "Understanding the nature, magnitude, and health impact of firearm violence against children is an important first step."

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