Child Gun Deaths Greatly Outnumber Police and Military Gun Deaths in the US

Education officials in Texas have been compelled to issue low attendance waivers to at least 16 school districts so far this school year. These districts have reported at least 10 percent lower student attendance compared to the previous year.

The reason? An increasing number of students are missing school out of concern for their personal safety.

These trends are hardly unwarranted. Parents and their children in Texas and elsewhere in the United States are acutely aware of the frequent shootings at schools and other public places. But is that just a matter of a sensationalist national media stoking a growing sense of paranoia? As convenient as it would be, that isn’t the case.

New research from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine shows that, in general, the number of school-aged victims of gun violence have been quickly rising in recent years. The study looks at figures between 1999 and 2017, discovering that 38,942 children aged 5 to 18 were killed with firearms during this period.

Researchers break down the figures by two age groups, 5 to 14-year-olds and 15 and 18-year-olds. The first group experienced an average of 340 firearm deaths yearly during this period, whereas the second group had an incredible 2,050 such deaths annually.

The authors of the study point out that since 1999, the first statistically significant spike in youth gun fatalities occurred in 2009. A second came in 2014, and these deaths have continued to climb since then. By 2017, 20 percent of deaths in the 15 to 18-year-old age group were due to firearms.

A separate report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that, as of 2017, gun deaths became the third leading cause of fatalities among minors in the United States. Their estimates are lower, however, determining that almost 1,300 youths died from firearm injuries annually.

It can be difficult to grasp these figures. Going by the numbers produced by the Schmidt College of Medicine study, youth firearm deaths in the United States are between 600 and 900 percent higher than they are in comparably developed nations. Even in professions where firearm deaths are generally understood to be especially high, such as law enforcement and the military, gun fatalities are substantially lower.

As Dr. Charles Hennekens explains, “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” from firearms.

Active shooter incidents are on the rise in recent years as well. Per FBI data, there were significant spikes in active shooter incidents — public shootings requiring law enforcement response — in both 2016 and 2017.

It’s incredible that Americans and their children are perishing at such high rates to gun violence. Should public places like our schools really be war zones when most voters support various forms of basic gun control?

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Garrison Casey/Flickr

21 comments

Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H27 days ago

thanks

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Shirley S
Shirley S27 days ago

What dreadful statistics !

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Anne Moran
Anne Moran28 days ago

Parents,, hide your guns, or place em' under lock and key.... - This is absolutely unacceptable.. - Kids playing with guns,, they have no idea/concept of the long term ramifications of killing someone...

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Roslyn M
Roslyn McBride29 days ago

This a disgraceful situation.

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Alea C
Alea C29 days ago

The NRA doesn't care about dead kids as is evidenced by the astronomical amounts of money they donate to pro gun politicians so that guns can be easily purchased.

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Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang29 days ago

This is so shameful. The gun lobby and the gun huggers just don't care. It's just not school shootings, but shootings in various places.

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Christine V
Christine V29 days ago

So sad

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Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Loredana V
Loredana V29 days ago

Sorry, I was so upset that I forgot to thank you for sharing.

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Loredana V
Loredana V29 days ago

Nobody is safe in this world, poor children!
It's time to BAN guns, how many children must die before somebody takes action???

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