It used to be that accidents, primarily car accidents, were the leading cause of death of America’s children between the ages of 1 and 18.
But last year for the first time, guns were the #1 cause of death of American children. A total of 3597 children died from guns (including suicides), representing 19% of all deaths in that age group, with accidents coming in at 18%. (Cancer is third at 8% and drug overdoses are fourth at 7%.)
To put that number in perspective, 2603 people perished in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 — which means that guns now kill far more American children, each and every year, than were killed by the terrorists on that terrible day.
In addition, another 15,000 children annually are wounded by gunfire, often leaving them with lifelong, debilitating physical injuries as well as psychological trauma.
The 2022 figures represent a dramatic increase of 50% since 2019 and a doubling since 2013. The child firearm mortality rate in 2013 was 1.8 deaths per 100,000, but now is close to 4.0 deaths per 100,000.
The United States has by far the highest rate of children who die from firearms among wealthy nations — and it’s not even close. Deaths by firearms do not rank in the top four for causes of death for children, let alone the number one cause, anywhere else in the developed world.
Moreover, there is no place in America that is safe for our children from gun violence. Even the states with the most gun safety laws, which have lower rates of child firearm deaths than states with few gun safety laws, have rates much higher than what other countries similar to ours experience.
Given that guns and mass shootings continue to proliferate throughout our country — and Republicans at all levels of government refuse to enact even common-sense gun safety measures — the number of deaths by firearms for our nation’s children only will continue to rise.