Child Gun Deaths

When the gun control industry mentions children, it’s time to hunt for bunk.

Our species would not have survived for long had we not acquired a knee-jerk response to keep kids safe. Politicos know this, which is why they hoist kids a high for everything from gun control to Head Start. Our communal desire to protect kids is used by the gun control industry to create fear that children are endangered by guns on every street corner.

As with most gun control industry pronouncements, it is far from the truth.

Age is the first thing

First off, over time the gun control industry has modified their public utterance. They used to claim 13 children die each day from firearms, but that statistic included active gang members up to age 24 … not what you think of a “children”. In adult conversations, a “child” is one who has not yet reached puberty. So the gun control industry has modified their lingo to phrases like “children and teenagers” or “children and young adults.”

Fair enough, but we have to remember that gang recruitment has been reported at the early age of 10. Testosterone poisoning starts at around age 13-14, and this is when at-risk youths start lives of crime and violence.

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) databases set this breakpoint for children at age 14 and below. Given the definition of “child” and the influence of gang affiliation starting at around this age, all discussions of “children and guns” will be confined to ages 0-14. Any members of the gun control industry watching this blog, obey this.


HOMICIDES 896 193 5:1

The CDC database reports every form of death, and can do so by age groups. Thus it is easy to show the perspective concerning firearms and other modes of demise for children.

Accidents are easy to evaluate. Homicides are a bit tricky. Aside from the rare instance of someone murdering a kid with a gun, then claiming it was an accident, the unintentional death toll for children is small – 69 victims in 2013, or a little more than on per state for the entire year. When compared to all forms of accidental death for children, we see that firearms make-up about 1/59th of the number. This shouldn’t be surprising since the rate of accidental firearm fatalities has been plunging for decades, and children were not frequent victims of gun accidents to begin with.

Firearm homicides of children include gang-related activities. In the past couple of years, in Oakland, California alone, there were a few reports of children slain in broad daylight as rival gangs shot-it-out on the streets. Toss in the few kids already actively running with gangs or in the company of gang members, and we see that unraveling child murders with firearms gets tricky. The FBI’s Expanded Homicide tables don’t help much [unless I missed a table somewhere] as they do no matrix who was murdered by age and circumstance, though they do note the #1 mode for murdering children – 33% of all deaths in the most recent reporting year 1 –is the category Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).

According to one study, 2 most murdered children were suffocated, which validates the FBI’s numbers above. That study noted “When parents killed their offspring under age 12, they rarely used a firearm or knife. Firearms or knives were responsible for the deaths of 7% of offspring victims under 12.” Sadly, year-over-year, about 60% of murdered/suffocated children were killed by their mothers and fathers … though nobody in the gun control industry is calling for the licensing and registration of parents.

The perspective is that as tragic as a child’s death may be, the number of kids being gunned down is small. Subtract gang activity, and the firearm death rate for kids becomes statistical noise. The accidental firearm death rate for children is about 1/10th of a child per every 100,000 people, or literally one in a million.

Cause Ratio
Suffocation 24:1
Transportation-Related 21:1
Homicides (non-firearm) 11:1
Drowning 10:1
Fire/burning 5:1
Residential fires 4:1
Poisoning 3:1
Natural/environmental 2:1
Striking (blunt force) 2:1
Firearms accidents 1:1
Falls 1:1
Adverse effects – Medical Care 0.7:1
Cut / Pierce 0.6:1
Adverse effects – Drugs 0.2:1
Ratio accidental deaths to accidental firearm deaths for children (SOURCE: CDC WISQARS, 2013)

To ram a little more perspective into uncomfortable places on the body politic, we have to see just how urgent accidental firearm deaths are to children given the roster of other preventable forms of pre-adolescent annihilation. What we see is that accidental firearm deaths are near the bottom of the list, and the gap to the lowest forms of death is fractional. All told, your kid is over 99 times more likely to accidentally die from anything else other than guns, and even that number is over-stated for a variety of reasons.

Save the kids … and the sanity

Given the amazingly low accidental and homicide firearm death rates for children, our time and political anger is better spent on the two big problems: gangs (that recruit adolescents into dangerous life styles) and the 99+% of ways kids get killed other than firearms. If it saves just one child’s life, should we ban plastic bags (suffocation), cars (transportation-related), swimming pools (drowning), fire and nature (anything wild at a camp site)? These forms of death are avoidable too.


  1. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, 2012, Expanded Homicide Data Table 9
  2. Homicides of Children and Youth, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001


Child Gun Deaths — 1 Comment

  1. One of the more absurd statements I often hear from the gun control crowd is “but guns have only one purpose, to kill people!” or some variation thereof. Of course, that is far from the only purpose of guns (hunting, target shooting, collecting all come to mind) and I don’t see how it makes a difference.

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