Children’s Defense Fund
August 24, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC — After more than two decades of reporting on youth gun violence, the latest installment of Protect Children, Not Guns by the Children’s Defense Fund makes clear that our national obsession with guns continues to result in the senseless and unnecessary loss of young lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a total of 3,042 children and teens died by gunfire in 2007— a number nearly equal to the total number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq and four times the number of American combat fatalities in Afghanistan to date. Another 17,523 children and teens suffered non-fatal gun injuries in 2007 and the emotional aftermath that follows. In each case it was a gun that ended or changed a young life forever.
“We must act to end the culture of violence that desensitizes us – young and old – to the value of life,” said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. “We need political leaders who will protect our children by enacting legislation to limit the number of guns in our communities, control who can obtain firearms, and ensure that guns in the home are stored securely and safely. But responsibility to protect children does not end there. We can all take steps now to keep our children safe from guns.”
With over 280 million guns in civilian hands, the terrible truth is that there is no place to hide from gun violence. Children and teens are not safe from gun violence at school, at home, or anywhere else in America. A recent study found that rural and urban children and teens are equally likely to die from firearm injuries. Young people in urban areas are more likely to be homicide victims while rural children and teens are more likely to be victims of suicide or accidental shootings. The CDC estimates that nearly two million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns.
Protect Children, Not Guns 2010 provides the latest statistics on firearm deaths by race, age and manner; highlights state gun violence trends and efforts to prevent child access to guns; dispels common myths about guns; explains the significance of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gun ownership; and recommends action steps to protect children from guns.
Protect Children, Not Guns shows how gun violence exacts a high toll on society:
- The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2007 would fill more than 122 public school classrooms of 25 students each.
- More preschoolers (85) were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers (57) killed in the line of duty.
- In 2007, firearms claimed the lives of 1,499 Black children and teens and 1,460 White children and teens. Gun deaths of Black children and teens surpassed White children and teens for the first time the first year since this data was compiled in 1979 that.
- The vast majority (95 percent) of firearm deaths of young people occurred among children and teens 10 to 19 years old. In fact, more 10 to 19 year olds die from gunshot wounds than from any other cause except motor vehicle accidents.
- States with higher rates of gun ownership and weak gun control laws have the highest rates of firearm deaths when looking at victims of all ages.
CDF’s report shows that every three hours a child or teen is killed by a gun. That’s eight children or teen each day and 58 every week.
Protect Children, Not Guns outlines a series of action steps that individuals can take to help diminish the threat of gun violence to our communities. These recommendations provide practical approaches to reducing the number of child and teen gun deaths.
For more information about the Children’s Defense Fund, visit www.childrensdefense.org.
The CDF Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
The Children’s Defense Fund is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 37 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. CDF champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates on behalf of children to ensure our nation always makes them a priority.
WASHINGTON, DC— After more than a decade of reporting on youth gun violence, the latest installment of Protect Children, Not Guns by the Children’s Defense Fund makes clear that our national obsession with guns continues to result in the senseless and unnecessary loss of young lives.