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Child & Teen Gun Safety

Issues

Child & Teen Gun Safety

What is the problem?

Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the United States.1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death, Injury Mechanism & All Other Leading Causes, https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/saved/D158/D389F304. Data from 2022. Ages 1 to 19. Every year, more than 21,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded2Everytown Research analysis of CDC, WONDER, Underlying Cause of Death, 2018–2022 and 2020 HCUP nonfatal injury data. Ages 0 to 19. and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence.3David Finkelhor et al., “Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence,” JAMA Pediatrics 169, no. 8 (August 2015): 746-54, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676. Everytown’s analysis derives the 3 million number by multiplying the share of children (ages 0 to 17) who are exposed to shootings per year (4 percent) by the total child population of the US in 2016 (~73.5 million).

Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms. Exposure to gun violence has an impact on the psychological and mental well-being of children and teens and affects their school performance, among other factors.1David Finkelhor et al., “Children’s Exposure to Gun Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey,” US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, October 2009, https://bit.ly/PwXoZN; Eboni Morris, “Youth Violence: Implications for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Urban Youth,” National Urban League, 2009; Patrick J. Fowler et al., “Community Violence: A Meta-Analysis on the Effect of Exposure and Mental Health Outcomes of Children and Adolescents,” Development and Psychopathology 21, no. 1 (2009): 227–59, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579409000145. When homes, neighborhoods, and schools are not safe from gun violence, entire generations of American children are affected.

Child & Teen Gun Deaths Per Year

63% of child and teen gun deaths are homicides.

Why is it an issue?

Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the U.S.

Children and teens in the U.S. experience staggeringly high rates of gun deaths and injuries. They are also harmed when a friend or family member is killed with a gun, when someone they know is shot, and when they witness and hear gunshots. Tragically, children and teens are at heightened risk by guns in the home. The vast majority of child and teen gun suicides and unintentional shootings occur at a home.1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), 2020. Ages 0-19. More than 80 percent of child suicides involve a gun that belongs to a family member.2Renee M. Johnson et al., “Who Are the Owners of Firearms Used in Adolescent Suicides?,” Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior 40, no. 6 (2010): 609–11, https://doi.org/10.1521/suli.2010.40.6.609.

By the numbers

What are the solutions?

You might be wondering…

  1. 1 My child received training telling them not to approach or play with a gun. Is that enough to keep them safe?
  2. 2 How can I help make sure my child doesn’t gain access to an unsecured gun?