We recently released a report, The Truth About Kids & Guns, cataloging the deadly impact our guns have on our children and teens. In this country, more kids die from guns than from cancer, pneumonia, or HIV. In fact, except for automobiles, nothing else takes as many young lives.
To understand how to prevent these deaths, we need to understand how they happen. The CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System attempts to collect the details surrounding these deaths – where did they happen? Who was the victim? How was the shooter related? Still, we don’t know as much as we need to because the NVDRS data is not nationally representative. But what we do know should give us pause – and also hope.
Sixty percent of all child and teen gun deaths happen in a home; when we look at kids ages 10-14, 82% of deaths take place in a home. It’s even more for our youngest children. So although improved legislation is critical to keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, it is not the entire answer. When it comes to kids, the danger is rarely outside their own homes, or the homes of their family and friends. That means we don’t need to wait for Congress or anyone else to start reducing the toll guns take on our children.
We can start now, in our own homes – and those our children visit – to ensure kids do not have access to guns that can be used to harm themselves or someone else.