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PAS 2019: Studies find 3,700 children, teens die annually from guns :

April 27, 2019

On average, more than 3,700 children and teens die each year from firearms, according to new research being presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting in Baltimore.

Researchers analyzed data on firearm deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS).

They found an average of 34,501 people died each year from firearms, including 3,745 children age 19 and under, according to the abstract “Evolution of the firearm epidemic in the United States, 1990-2016.” Rates peaked in the 1990s but have been on the rise in recent years.

Authors attributed fatality rates largely to homicide among black and Hispanic males ages 20-40 as well as suicide among white, non-Hispanic males ages 70 and older. Rates of suicide, homicide and unintentional death were higher among males than females.

“Public health approaches to firearm violence need to consider underlying demographic trends and differences by intent,” authors wrote.

Many of the same authors also used WISQARS data to look at the impact of laws on firearm negligence and recklessness.

Nine states have passed laws on firearm recklessness, and 16 have passed laws on firearm negligence in the past 30 years, according to the abstract “Firearm Child Access Prevention Laws and Firearm Death Rates among Children, 1991-2016.”

Negligence laws were linked to lower rates of gun deaths overall as well as by homicide and from unintentional injuries. When gun owners were held liable for negligence regardless of whether a child used the firearm, unintentional deaths dropped as much as 69% in 10- to 13-year-olds, and homicide deaths fell as much as 36%.

Recklessness laws were not linked to lower death rates in any age group, and unintentional fatalities increased in 14- to 17-year-olds.

Addressing firearm injuries has been a priority for the Academy. Last year, it launched the Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative.

For additional AAP News coverage of the PAS meeting, visit

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