Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 24, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

The Unwomanly Face of War
The Life of Caliph Washington

Truthdig Bazaar
Not a Choice, Not a Job

Not a Choice, Not a Job

Janice G Raymond

more items

Ear to the Ground
Email this item Print this item

Count the Carnage: 500 Kids Die Each Year From Gunshots

Posted on Oct 27, 2013
mlinksva (CC BY 2.0)

As Americans continue to arm themselves, a new study finds a frightening—but not surprising—effect on children. More and more die each year from gunshot wounds, many times accidentally when they play with weapons they find in their home. And, not coincidentally, states with higher gun ownership rates have higher gunshot wound rates for children.

Some 500 children died and more than 7,700 others were wounded in 2009, the last year researched by study authors Dr. Arin L. Madenci, a surgical resident at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dr. Christopher Weldon, a surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital. They presented their findings Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in Orlando, Fla.

Madenci told Discovery News that he was surprised by one of the findings: Most of the shootings involved handguns, not assault weapons. Though given the prevalence of handguns in American homes, it stands to reason that they would account for most of the killings.

“Based on our research, we know that there is a clear correlation between household gun ownership (and gun safety practices) and childhood gunshot wounds in the home on a large-scale,” Madenci said in an e-mail to Discovery News.

Madenci said he didn’t have enough data to determine whether guns in specific homes were responsible for these deaths or injuries, but said it is something they plan to answer in future studies. He said he decided to look at the question of gun ownership and childhood gun deaths after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. One expert says the study should not come as a big surprise.

“It’s consistent with general theory which is that greater exposure leads to greater risk,” said Daniel Webster, professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

But the rise in gun deaths should be a shock, from 4,270 wounded and 317 killed in 1997, to 7,730 wounded and 503 killed in 2009, the last year for which data was available.

That’s a pace of more than 1.4 children killed and 21 wounded every day.

The two doctors based their study on data collected through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Kids’ Inpatient Database. According to NBC:

Eight of every 10 firearm wounds were inflicted by handguns, according to hospital records reviewed by the doctors. They say the national conversation about guns should shift toward the danger posed by smaller weapons, not the recent fights over limiting the availability of military-style, semi-automatic rifles.

“Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade,” said Dr. Arin L. Madenci, a surgical resident at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the study’s two authors. “Furthermore, states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.”

Among homes with children, rates of gun possession ranged from 10 percent in New Jersey, for instance, to 62 percent in Montana, the researchers found.


—Posted by Scott Martelle.


Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:

Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook