Researchers examined data from three national databases including the National Vital Statistics System, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, and the National Violent Death Reporting System.
The study found guns killed an average of 1,300 children per year from 2012 to 2014. Boys accounted for 82 percent of child firearm deaths, and for teen boys it was almost six times higher than the rate for girls at 8.6 vs 1.4 per 100,000.
Race mattered: The annual firearm homicide rate for African American children (3.5 per 100,000) was almost twice as high as the rate for American Indian children (2.2 per 100,000), 4 times higher than the rate for Hispanic children (0.8 per 100,000), and ∼10 times higher than the rate for white children and Asian American children (each 0.4 per 100,000).
In all, about 19 children die or are wounded each day from firearms, either by homicide, suicide, or unintentional shootings.
But suicide rates show different demographic trends.
They are most common in southern states and some Midwestern states and for black children more than any other race.
The yearly toll is nearly 1,300 deaths and almost 6,000 nonfatal gunshot wounds – majority intentional.
“It may help to remind ourselves and our parents that our message on safe gun storage in homes with children is similar to that of gun rights and sport shooting groups”, wrote Dr. Eliot Nelson of University of Vermont Children’s Hospital.
The rates of homicide involving guns among kids were also higher in the South and Midwest, in comparison to other parts of the country.
Suicides often occurred in the context of stressful circumstances or relationship problems with a boyfriend, girlfriend or family member.
According to The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network, unintentional shooting deaths may be significantly underreported.
As for unintentional firearm injuries, Weiser said, a third-grade girl he treated in 2011 was not the only accidental gunshot wound he saw in a child.
More than half of these deaths were homicides while 38% were ruled suicide.
Based on the findings, the data suggest about 19 children a day die from or are medically treated in an emergency room for a gunshot wound. These injuries were either from a firearm-related assault, an act of self-harm, or from unintentional injury. Of the 1,246 polled, 36 percent said they kept guns in the house, with two-thirds saying the house contained more than one gun. Some other studies include people up to age 20 or 21, and rates of gun injuries in older teens and young adults are much higher.
African American children had the highest rates of firearm mortality overall at 4.1 per 100,000.
“Firearm injuries are a leading cause of death among United States children aged one to 17 years and contribute substantially each year to premature death, illness and disability of children”, said CDC’s Katherine Fowler, who led the study.
“These are preventable injuries that have a major public health impact on early death and disability among children“, said Katherine Fowler, a behavioral scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and lead author of the study.
Fowler and colleagues disclosed no conflicts of interest.