Gun Violence

New Report Highlights the Truth About Guns in America

September 26, 2019 | National

This week, CDF released Protect Children, Not Guns 2019, a report that analyzes the latest fatal and nonfatal gun injury data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children and teens. The data reveals a growing gun violence epidemic in America that is growing and becoming more deadly for our children.

Some of the stunning findings from our research include:

  • 3,410 children and teens were killed with guns in 2017—the greatest number of child and teen gun deaths since 1998.
  • Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black children in America.
  • Guns killed twice as many preschoolers as law enforcement officers in the line of duty. 93 children under 5 were killed with guns in 2017, compared with 42 law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
  • The number of children and teens killed with guns in one year would fill 170 classrooms of 20 students each.

Guns end the lives of 9 children and teens every day in America and each moment we fail to act more and more children’s lives are taken. Our new report tackles many of the misconceptions that many use to justify the continued lack of action to protect children from gun violence. Here are some truths about guns in America:

  • The presence of a gun in the home makes the likelihood of homicide three times higher, suicide three to five times higher, and accidental death four times higher.
  • About 3 in 4 children ages 5-14 with gun-owning parents know where firearms are stored and more than 1 in 5 have handled a gun in the home without their parents’ knowledge.
  • Mental health is not a major risk factor. Less than 5 percent of gun-related killings in the United States were by people with mental illness between 2001 and 2010.
  • Armed guards or teachers in schools don’t make children safer. In fact, a report from the Giffords Law Center found armed adults in schools frequently mishandled guns or allowed students to get their hands on guns.

While we have made progress in gun violence prevention, especially in the state, we still need meaningful gun violence prevention measures at the federal level to ensure all children, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin, can grow up safe free from violence. Read the full report here to learn more about how we can strengthen laws to protect the lives of our children.