ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Firearms have surpassed cars as the leading cause of death among both children and adolescents living in the United States, according to sobering new research by a team at the University of Michigan.
Study authors set out to quantify the leading causes of death in the U.S. among individuals under the age of 19. Their analysis, made possible thanks to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed firearm-related deaths in connection to kids and adolescents increased by an astounding 29 percent between 2019 and 2020.
“The increasing rates of firearm mortality are a longer-term trend and demonstrate that we continue to fail to protect our youngest population from a preventable cause of death,” says study co-author Jason Goldstick, research associate professor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine and of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health, in a university release.
“Recent investments in firearm injury prevention research by the CDC and National Institutes of Health, in addition to community violence prevention funding in the federal budget, are a step in the right direction, but this momentum must continue if we truly want to break this alarming trend.”
This latest work concerning gun violence in the United States in relation to children suggests a worrying upward trend in overall firearm violence nationwide. However, the research team is hopeful that their work can help policymakers and community groups alike better identify potential solutions to this major national issue.
Automobile deaths down ‘drastically’ thanks to ‘injury prevention science’
Over 4,300 U.S. adolescents (ages 1-19) died due to firearms in 2020. That figure includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths. Meanwhile, car accidents played a role in 3,900 deaths among children and adolescents in 2020.
It’s also worth noting that deaths linked to drug poisoning also increased considerably in 2020, by more than 83 percent to reach over 1,700 deaths in total. Drug-related fatalities are now the third-leading cause of death among children.
“Motor vehicle crashes were consistently the leading cause of death for children and adolescents by a fairly wide margin, but by making vehicles and their drivers safer, these types of fatalities have drastically decreased over the past 20 years,” explains study co-author Patrick Carter, co-director of the institute and associate professor of emergency medicine and of health behavior and health education.
“Injury prevention science played a crucial role in reducing automobile deaths without taking cars off the road, and we have a real opportunity here to generate a similar impact for reducing firearm deaths through the application of rigorous injury prevention science.”
Guns are killing people of all ages across America
Including adults, over 45,000 Americans died due to gun violence in 2020. That’s a 13-percent increase in comparison to 2019. Study authors note that this national surge was largely driven by gun-related homicides, which increased by over 33 percent between 2019 and 2020. Gun-related suicides increased by one percent.
“Firearm violence is one of the most critical challenges facing our society, and based on the latest federal data, this crisis is growing more and more intense,” concludes study co-author Rebecca Cunningham, U-M vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.
“As a nation, we turn to scientific evidence to prevent injuries and deaths, and firearms should be no different. Michigan has incredible expertise in this space, and we will continue to use our collective knowledge to create safer and more vibrant communities nationwide.”
The study is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
This article was first published April 25, 2022.
Idiot parents not teaching their kids to keep their hands off guns. Idiot lawmakers not allowing parents to tan the hide off kids who disobey them.
A utterly mendacious, illogical hit piece. It mentions only the increase of suicides (1%) but not the fact that over half of the mortalities by guns are suicides. In any event, over the course of several weeks nearly one million people were slaughted in Rhwanda by machetes. Nearly a million people! What difference what weapon was used? Golf clubs and cars and baseball bats have been used to kill people. 90 people in a NY social club were killed in one night by an arsonist with a gallon of gasoline and a match. If this is the “blame the weapon” sweepstakes than cars win. Confiscate the cars.
This article is a ill-disguised attack on the Bill of rights (people against the 2nd amendment are usually not happy with a few other ones as well) presented as a “concern”.
People intent on murder or suicide have a wide array of means to choose from. Focusing on the tool is inane and disingenuous. Leaving the public defenseless and defunding the police are part of the extreme left’s attack on the country. “Study finds” is losing credibilty every time they go this route.
I don’t disagree with you about the “left” and their position on issues but you’re being disingenuous as well if you think the “right” isn’t ruining America with their policies and procedures! You should be calling out both sides.
100% agree with Crockett. Also, not even a hint of the 100,000 deaths caused annually by Fentanyl overdoses, caused by Mexican cartels and the left-wing ideology of open borders. The people totally responsible for these deaths are in the mainstream media, media ownership, social media, Democrat Clintonites and a totally corrupt federal government.
So you’re blaming the cartels for the choices Americans make to take something they have no idea what it is or where it came from? You’re just as disingenuous and obtuse as Crockett is a few comments up!
It’s interesting the glorification of guns and killing in most movies/TV is never mentioned as a social cause for increased violence. I’m not even going to mention the music industry…(or did I?)
So don’t look at the societal issues: lack of parenting, lack of parenting brains, ect…ect…at nauseum, nope..just pass more laws…that’ll fix it.
Children in this study are defined as those aged 19 or under. What percentage of “children” killed by firearms are late teens, involved in drug gangs, shooting each other in furtherance of an organized criminal enterprise? 90%? More?
Abortion is the #1 cause of death among children.
For Christ sake!! There’s always one of you in ever looney bin!
I agree, the left is all about killing black babies
Guns are not killing kids, people committing murder are killing kids! Stop pushing this narrative of “guns kill kids” and address the true cause, stop being obtuse!!