We Can Do Better

In 2016, 3,128 children and teens died from guns, enough to fill 156 classrooms of 20 children. A child or teen was killed with a gun every 2 hours and 48 minutes. More children under five were killed by guns than law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Gun violence saturates our children’s lives and remains the second leading cause of death for all children and teens ages 1-19. Children are learning there is no safe space in America.

2016 Protect Children, Not Guns Factsheet »   2018 Truth About Guns Factsheet »   2013 Protect Children, Not Guns Report »

We can do better. Join us in our campaign to stand up, speak out, and organize with urgency and persistence until the President, members of Congress, governors, and state legislators protect children instead of guns. Every child’s life is sacred, and it is long past time that we pass common-sense gun safety regulations to protect all our children.

Data & Resources

The Truth About Guns

The Truth About Guns 2018

March 30, 2018

CDF Protect Children Not Guns Fact Sheet 2016 Deaths

CDF Protect Children Not Guns Fact Sheet 2016 Deaths

February 15, 2018

The State of America's Children 2017

Millions of America’s children today suffer from hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Together, The State of America’s Children® 2017 and corresponding state factsheets provide a comprehensive overview of how America’s children are doing nationally and inform conversations about how we can do better.

December 14, 2017

2015 Protect Children, Not Guns Fact Sheet

2014 Child Gun Deaths

December 18, 2015

2014 Protect Children, Not Guns Factsheet

December 12, 2014

Protect Children, Not Guns 2013

Since 20 first and second graders were mowed down with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in December, more than 1,300 children and teens have been killed if 2010 trends continue. It’s time for every parent, grandparent, faith and community leader to stand up to Congress and say, “Enough—do something now!”

July 24, 2013

Protect Children, Not Guns: Key Facts

2013 factsheet on the most recent figures on child and teen gun deaths and injuries in the United States.

July 1, 2013

Gun Deaths by State

In the 11 years following the Columbine High School shooting, a total of 32,108 children and teens died in gun homicides, suicides and accidents across the United States. This is an average of 2,919 children and teens, or 117 classrooms of 25 children each, dying every year for 11 years. Every state lost children to gun violence between 2000 and 2010. Find out the rate of child and teen gun deaths in your state with our new fact sheet.

January 18, 2013

Safe Start Pillar

Ensuring Every Child a Safe Start through Common Sense Gun Safety Laws, Strengthened Mental Health Resources, and a Commitment to Counter the Culture of Violence

January 3, 2013

Additional Resources


Click the video below to watch

Organize For Action

If we’re going to win the fight to protect children, not guns, it is going to take mothers and fathers, grandparents, faith leaders and congregations, gun violence witnesses and survivors, military and law enforcement officers, elected officials and child advocates, and everyone who believes that our children’s right to live, learn and grow up safely must be protected before guns. We must not stop marching, calling, writing, and visiting and holding all of our political leaders accountable. We must hold them accountable for not ending the preventable and immoral loss of child and human lives and not honoring what most Americans want and our children need.

Take Action

Contact your members of Congress, urge them to Protect Children, Not Guns, and vote to support safety for all our children. Insist that your elected officials take common sense approaches to gun violence prevention: banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines; closing loopholes in the current background check system;  raising the age for the purchase of long guns; raising red flags when law enforcement and family members’ concerns warrant denial of gun purchases; banning devices like bump stocks that allow shooters to increase the rate of fire in their semi-automatic weapons; and protecting victims of domestic violence by extending gun restrictions on perpetrators.

Spread the Truth

Distribute fact sheets and information about the truth about guns and sensible gun safety legislation and policy opportunities in your state and in Congress to protect children, address their unmet mental health needs, and reduce gun violence. Partner with grassroots movements like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has nearly 100 chapters in 40 states to engage lawmakers on the national, state, and local level online and in person.

Raise Awareness

Organize a Child Watch Site Visitation Program to raise awareness of the epidemic of gun violence in your community. To highlight the problems of violence, choose sites like morgues, emergency rooms, or juvenile detention centers. To highlight healthy development and violence prevention, choose sites like schools with conflict resolution and/or restorative justice programs, community mental health centers that provide prevention and 24-hour crisis response services for children and families, and early care and education programs that offer mental health consultation services.

Plan a Community March

Partner with as many local organizations as possible to organize a community march and vigil. Gather the names of children and teens lost to gun violence in your community. Choose a community location that highlights the toll of gun violence on children. Then remember each one lost to gun violence with poems, prayers and song.

Join the Children’s Defense Fund for the Proctor Institute in July

Come to the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute on Child Advocacy Ministry at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee and learn with clergy, seminarians, and concerned people of faith how to work more effectively to end the violence of guns and child poverty in your community. Great preachers and great teachers will help you hone your skills at workshops. Learn more and register today.

Host a Children’s Sabbath Service in October

Each year in October, thousands of Houses of Worship of all faiths lift up children’s needs by hosting a National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® celebration. This year’s theme is: Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty. Hold a “Turn Off Violence and Turn In Guns” Day as part of your Children’s Sabbath weekend activities. Check out the resources including a step-by-step guide on organizing a Children’s Sabbath weekend.


The following selected organizations are working hard to prevent gun violence:

Boston TenPoint Coalition:

An ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the Boston community around issues affecting Black and Latino youth to end violence. http://bptc.org

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

An affiliate of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence that works to create an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in their communities. It works to pass and enforce sensible federal and state gun laws, regulations, and public policies. http://www.bradycampaign.org

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:

A coalition, with 48 national organizational members, that seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement, and effective policy advocacy. http://www.csgv.org

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

A public interest law center dedicated to providing legal assistance in support of gun violence prevention at the state and local level, and which provides free legal assistance to advocates, other community leaders, government officials and law enforcement seeking legislative and regulatory solutions to gun violence. smartgunlaws.org

Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

A coalition of more that 600 mayors from large and small cities across the country, co-chaired by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City and Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, with the goal of protecting their residents, especially children, from harm by stopping the threat of illegal guns and preventing criminals from getting guns illegally. http://www.demandaplan.org

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:

A grassroots effort formed in the wake of the devastating mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School to build support for common-sense gun legislation. This nonpartisan organization has tens of thousands of members in more than 80 chapters across the United States. http://momsdemandaction.org

States United to Prevent Gun Violence:

An organization representing gun violence prevention groups in 24 states that is focused on reducing gun violence in states across the country. http://supgv.org

Violence Policy Center:

A national organization working to stop gun deaths and injury through research, advocacy, education, and collaboration, and which maintains a Concealed Carry Killers online resource that tracks incidents involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. http://www.vpc.org



  1. CDF calculations based on National Shooting Sports Foundation and U.S. Census data.
  2. CDF calculations based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 
  3. Small Arms Survey and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives data. 
  4. CDF calculations based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, and Defense Casualty Analysis System data. 
  5. CDF calculations based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Bureau of Investigation data. 
  6. CDF calculations based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.