There are over 31,500 gun deaths in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems like every week we’re hearing about kids accidentally shooting themselves or others in their homes.
A report in the journal Pediatrics shows that more than 7,000 American kids are killed or hospitalized annually, due to gunshot wounds.
There are ways to stop this unacceptable and outrageous number of injuries and fatalities. The first is to practice gun safety and to never, ever, allow access to guns without strict supervision.
In fact, when we say things like “It seems like every week…” that’s a gross under-representation of what is actually going on. A study this year has shown that 20 children are hospitalized every day from gunshot wounds.
"Three firearms-related patients each day are younger than 15 years of age," one of the study’s authors, Yale professor Dr. John Leventhal, told HealthDay News. "This is a tragedy. There are substantial injuries to these children that may have lifelong consequences."
What is just as tragic is that two-thirds of these attacks on children are intentional, with one-third being accidental. Most (90 percent) victims are boys. An overwhelming number of these boys are black -- 10 times more, in fact, than boys of other races. The age that they are most at risk are 15-19 years old. These account for nearly 85 percent of all gunshot wounds to children.
Dr. Leventhal said that many of the survivors go on to have long-term injuries from being shot. For younger children aged 10 and under, the majority (75 percent) are due to accidental shooting, clearly due to access to guns that are not housed properly.
The Second Amendment has shown a fierce divide regarding the right to own guns and have them in homes. While many agree that people have the right to own guns, the statistics show that gun safety is not a priority for many gun owners.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages stronger gun laws with a ban on assault rifles.
The AAP recommends that doctors be allowed to ask patients if they have guns in their homes.