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Protect Children, Not Guns 2009

Release Date: September 16, 2009
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Protect Children, Not Guns 2009

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 3,184 children and teens died from gunfire in the United States in 2006—a 6 percent increase from 2005. This means one young life lost every two hours and 45 minutes, almost nine every day, 61 every week.

Of these deaths, 2,225 were homicides, 763 were suicides and 196 were due to an accident or undetermined circumstances. Boys accounted for 2,815 of the deaths; girls for 369 deaths. More than five times as many children and teens—17,451—suffered non-fatal gun injuries.

  • The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2006 would fill more than 127 public school classrooms of 25 students each.
  • More preschoolers (63) were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers (48) killed in the line of duty.
  • Black males ages 15 to 19 are almost five times as likely as their White peers and more than twice as likely as their Hispanic peers to be killed by firearms.
  • Between 1979 and 2006, the yearly number of firearm deaths of White children and teens decreased by about 40 percent, but deaths of Black children and teens increased by 55 percent.
  • Since 1979, gun violence has ended the lives of 107,603 children and teens in America.
  • Sixty percent of them were White; 37 percent were Black.
  • The number of Black children and teens killed by gunfire since 1979 (39,957) is more than 10 times the number of Black citizens of all ages lynched throughout American history (3,437).

The United States remains one of the few industrialized countries that place so few restrictions on gun sales. There are more than 270 million privately owned firearms in our country—the equivalent of nine firearms for every 10 men, women and children.

The daily news is a grim reminder of the devastating impact caused by our deadly romance with guns and violence. What will it take for us to stop this senseless loss of young lives? Individuals and communities must act to end the culture of violence that desensitizes us to the value of life.

There are actions all of us can take now to protect children and teens from gun violence:

  • Support common-sense gun safety measures, like closing the gun show loophole, strengthening the Brady background check system, and reinstituting the assault
    weapons ban.
  • Remove guns from your home.
  • Mobilize support in your community to protect children from gun violence.
  • Stress nonviolent values and conflict resolution.
  • Refuse to buy or use products for children and teens that glamorize violence.
  • Provide children and teens positive alternatives to the streets where they can feel safe and protected.

This latest Protect Children, Not Guns report provides key findings on child gun deaths including firearm deaths of children and teens by:

  • manner (e.g. homicide, suicide, accident, unknown)
  • state
  • race/Hispanic origin
  • year
  • age group

The report also provides various ways we can step up and take action to protect children and teens from gun violence.

View previous editions of this report.

Read CDF President Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch® Column, "Shooting Deaths of Children Rose for Second Straight Year."

Firearm Deaths of Children and Teens, 1979-2006

Between 1994 and 2004, the annual number of firearm deaths of children and teens decreased by more than 50 percent.

 

 

Firearm Deaths 1979-2006

 

 

Firearm Deaths of Children and Teens, 2006

United States Total: 3,184

 

Firearm Deaths 2006 State Map