Indicating Rise of Gun Violence, Firearms Now Leading Cause of Death for American Children

Firearms have overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of death among young Americans, with official data showing a strong rise in gun-related homicides such as the killing of 19 children in a Texas school rampage. Overall, 4,368 children and teens up to age 19 died from firearms in 2020, a rate of 5.4 per 1,00,000 dashboards by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Homicides accounted for nearly two-thirds of deaths caused by the use of firearms. By comparison, there were 4,036 motor-related deaths, the former leading cause of death for this age group.

The gap is narrowing as road safety measures have improved over decades, while gun-related deaths have risen. Trend lines crossed in 2020, the latest year for which data is available – a discovery outlined in a letter to New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) last week.

The letter’s authors note that the new data was consistent with other evidence that gun violence increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, for reasons that are not entirely clear, but that “it cannot be assumed that they () will subsequently return to pre-pandemic levels”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) newly updated dashboard shows that nearly 30 percent of deaths were suicides, just over 3 percent were unintentional, and 2 percent were unintentional.

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A small number were classified as “legal interference” in reference to the killings by law enforcement.

The deaths disproportionately affected black children and adolescents, who were four times more likely to die as white children—for whom cars still pose a greater threat. The second group most affected by guns were American Indians, followed by Hispanic whites.

Meanwhile, males were six times more likely to die by gun than females.

By region, the gun-related death rate was highest in Washington, D.C., followed by Louisiana, and then Alaska.

The numbers helped underscore that while mass shootings like the one in Ovaldi are horrific, they make up only a small portion of all child gun deaths.

The authors wrote another recent letter to NEJM, unlike the situation for firearms, where regulations have been relaxed. While vehicle safety has been spearheaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is no equivalent agency to regulate gun safety, and historically little government research funding has been allocated to the area due to Republican opposition.

Holden Thorpe, editor-in-chief of a leading magazine Sciences I published an editorial Thursday calling for more research into the public health effects of gun ownership to drive policy change.

“Scholars should not sit on the sidelines and watch others fight this,” he wrote. “More research on the public health effects of gun ownership will provide further evidence of its deadly consequences,” he continued, arguing that severe mental illness, often blamed for mass shootings, was prevalent at similar levels in other countries without mass shootings. Regular shooting.

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