The rate of children dying from gun violence in America is growing at an alarming rate, with experts worried it could be enough to label it as an epidemic, per a report from Newsweek.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, more children were shot dead in 2017 than on-duty police officers and personnel on active military duty. A team at the Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine analyzed data archived by the National Center for Health Statistics. and the results made for grim reading.
Between 1999 and 2017, nearly 39,000 children between 5 to 18-years-old died in incidents involving a gun. Of those, 6,464 deaths were of children aged between 5 to 14, meaning that annually, 340 children were shot dead on average in that period. The numbers are much starker for the 14-18 age group, with a reported number of 2,050 teenagers dying per year on average between 1999 and 2017.
Of the numbers presented here, 61 percent of children died in cases involving assault with a firearm, while 32 percent of the children used guns to take their own lives. Five percent of children died in accidental shootings, with the causes for the remaining deaths undetermined.
The authors noted that black children were particularly susceptible to gun violence, with 41 percent of incidents involving children from the African-American community. One of the analogies presented by the authors put the context of gun violence in remarkably disturbing terms. According to the team that conducted the study, more school-age children — 2,462 to be precise — were shot to death in 2017 than the number of on-duty police officers and active military personnel combined.
“It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms,” the study read.
Our nation has more guns than people.
What will it take for America to follow New Zealand's lead and say "no more" to gun violence? Read Marian Wright Edelman's latest Child Watch column: https://t.co/4ApsQcP5It pic.twitter.com/DcOt5wNaOq
— Children's Defense Fund (@ChildDefender) March 31, 2019
The authors behind the study also cited past research, pointing out that the current statistics showed that the rate of homicides in the United States is much larger than other developed countries. On average, the number of homicides in America is six to nine times higher than other developed nations.
The recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine adds to other studies conducted on gun violence in America, all of which have concluded that gun violence threatens to become a major problem for the country, with a probability that deaths of young people from gun violence could outrank any other cause of death.