Shoot­ings kill or in­jure at least 19 US chil­dren each day

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By LINDSEY TAN­NER AP Med­i­cal Writer

CHICAGO - Shoot­ings kill or in­jure at least 19 U.S. chil­dren each day, with boys, teenagers and blacks most at risk, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment study that paints a bleak por­trait of per­sis­tent vi­o­lence.

The anal­y­sis of 2002-14 U.S. data is billed as the most com­pre­hen­sive study on the topic. While it mostly con­firms pre­vi­ously re­leased in­for­ma­tion, it un­der­scores why re­searchers view gun vi­o­lence as a public health cri­sis.

The re­port from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion in­volves chil­dren and teens through age 17. It was com­piled by an­a­lyz­ing death cer­tifi­cates and emer­gency room re­ports. Among the find­ings pub­lished Mon­day in the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics:

-The yearly toll is nearly 1,300 deaths and al­most 6,000 non­fa­tal gun­shot wounds - most of them in­ten­tional.

-Most deaths re­sult from homi­cides and sui­cides, while as­saults caused most of the non­fa­tal in­juries.

-The an­nual death rate is nearly two out of 100,000 chil­dren - the rate is dou­ble for blacks - while non­fa­tal gun­shot wounds in­jure al­most eight out of 100,000 kids each year.

-Sui­cides in­creased from 2007-14, from 325 to 532. The sui­cide rate in­creased 60 per­cent over those years to 1.6 per 100,000. One-third of th­ese kids were de­pressed and most had ex­pe­ri­enced a re­cent cri­sis, in­clud­ing re­la­tion­ship breakups and prob­lems at school.

-Homi­cides fell from 200714, from 1,038 to 699, the rate drop­ping by 36 per­cent to less than 1 per 100,000.

-Most un­in­ten­tional deaths re­sulted from play­ing with guns and un­in­ten­tion­ally pulling the trig­ger. Most vic­tims were by­standers although among kids up to age 10 in this group, more than 40 per­cent ac­ci­den­tally shot them­selves.

The re­port notes that un­in­ten­tional shoot­ing deaths may be sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­re­ported, which was high­lighted in a re­port by The As­so­ci­ated Press and USA TODAY Net­work. The news or­ga­ni­za­tions found dur­ing the first six months of 2016, mi­nors died from ac­ci­den­tal shoot­ings - at their own hands, or at the hands of other chil­dren or adults - at a pace of one ev­ery other day, far more than lim­ited fed­eral statis­tics in­di­cate.

Congress has pro­hib­ited the CDC from us­ing fed­eral money to ad­vo­cate or pro­mote gun con­trol. CDC spokes­woman Court­ney Le­nard said the con­gres­sional di­rec­tive “does not pro­hibit CDC from con­duct­ing public health re­search into gun vi­o­lence” and the agency con­tin­ues to do so.

“Public health re­search is fun­da­men­tal for un­der­stand­ing the prob­lem and de­vel­op­ing sci­en­tif­i­cally sound so­lu­tions,” said the study's lead au­thor, Kather­ine Fowler of the CDC.

An ac­com­pa­ny­ing ed­i­to­rial in the jour­nal said it's “both rea­son­able and wise” for doc­tors to talk about firearms safety with par­ents, par­tic­u­larly those who keep guns at home.

“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.


Black boys and teenagers are most at risk of be­ing killed with a gun.


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