Gun Violence & Children – Part I

It’s no secret that gun violence has become a huge problem in the United States. From gang-related shootings to mass shootings in bars, restaurants, schools, and shopping centers, guns are injuring and killing Americans in record numbers, and the gun epidemic doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.

In 2020, when a worldwide pandemic swept the nation and lockdowns were put in place, more Americans died from gun violence than they did in any year prior. With a total of 45,222 gun-related deaths, this represented a 14% increase from the year before, a 25% increase from five years before, and a 43% increase from ten years before. 

The breakdown of gun-related deaths are surprising:

  • 54% of gun-related deaths were suicide
  • 43% murder
  • 3% were from accidental shootings, undetermined causes, and law enforcement shootings combined

The question is how many of these shootings are impacting kids in ways that we may not recognize.  For every shooting that kills a child or teen, there are five more shootings that injure people in that same age group.  These physical injuries lead to a lot of long-lasting emotional and psychological trauma for children, family and friends.

Every year, more than 3,500 children and teens are killed by gun violence, and more than 15,000 are wounded. When divided by the number of days per year, that’s an average of 52 young people getting physically hurt by gun violence every day.

If those statistics aren’t sobering enough for you, what is really astounding is understanding how easily many of these deaths or injuries could have been avoided.

While the headlines tend to focus on mass shootings, they are a small portion of the gun violence taking place. Half of all school shootings are committed by current or former students who had easy access to a gun in their home and were seeking revenge of some sort.

In 2021, more than 1,000 teens committed suicide with a firearm, and approximately 377 accidental shootings were committed by children.

Preventing these tragedies by locking up firearms so children cannot get to them is the first step in reducing gun violence.