Leading Cause of Child and Teen Deaths: Guns

Leading Cause of Child and Teen Deaths: Guns

For the first time, guns killed more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer. And a spate of articles on the epidemic of teen gun violence and suicide.

NBC News:
In A First, Firearms Were Leading Cause Of Death For U.S. Children And Teens In 2020

Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer. More than 4,300 died of firearm-related injuries that year — a 29 percent increase from 2019 — according to a research letter published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The letter analyzed decades of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Bendix, 4/22)

New England Journal of Medicine:
Crossing Lines — A Change In The Leading Cause Of Death Among U.S. Children 

Injuries are the most common cause of death among children, adolescents, and young adults between 1 and 24 years of age in the United States; indeed, injuries are responsible for more deaths among children and adolescents than all other causes combined. For more than 60 years, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury-related death among young people. Beginning in 2017, however, firearm-related injuries took their place to become the most common cause of death from injury (see graph).1 This change occurred because of both the rising number of firearm-related deaths in this age group and the nearly continuous reduction in deaths from motor vehicle crashes. The crossing of these trend lines demonstrates how a concerted approach to injury prevention can reduce injuries and deaths — and, conversely, how a public health problem can be exacerbated in the absence of such attention. Between 2000 and 2020, the number of firearm-related deaths among children, adolescents, and young adults increased from 6998 (7.30 per 100,000 persons) to 10,186 (10.28 per 100,000 persons), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Lee, Douglas and Hemenway, 4/21)

Another Teen Shooting Death In Billings Highlights Increasing Youth Gun Use

A 15-year-old boy died at a Billings residence on Saturday, April 9, 2022, after what the Billings Police Department says appears to be an accidental shooting. Officers responded to a shooting in the 500 block of South 33rd Street around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. The victim was dead when officers arrived at the scene. The police department said the investigation is ongoing, but “at this time appears to be an accidental shooting. “That incident makes it three teenage shooting deaths within three months in Billings. Police say it’s because children have more access to guns now than ever before. (Conlon, 4/11)

Judge Refuses To Reduce Bond For Parents Of Teen Charged In Michigan School Shooting

A judge denied a motion Tuesday to reduce bonds for the jailed parents of a Michigan teenager who is charged in a shooting at Oxford High School that left four of his fellow students dead. Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews said that James and Jennifer Crumbley’s actions before their Dec. 4 arrests in a commercial building in Detroit were meant to conceal their whereabouts. (Williams, 4/19)

Los Angeles Times:
A Mother Battles Gun Violence In South L.A. After Losing Her Son 

Tashon Logan, her eldest son, was shot to death at age 19 on March 31, 2019 — less than four hours before rapper Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of his South Los Angeles store. She is not the first mother to bear the weight of raising children in a tough neighborhood with more gangs and guns than opportunity. But hers is an uncommon common story, one of atonement and second chances. Bracks is a 47-year-old single mother and recovering addict who lived for two years in a rescue mission and a string of flophouses before finding a stable home to raise her family. She lost one son and almost lost another. And as she works through the grief and pain of Logan’s slaying, she is newly focused. (Sheets, 4/19)

Their Teenage Children Died By Suicide. Now These Families Want To Hold Social Media Companies Accountable

On January 4, 2015, while his family was taking down their Christmas tree and decorations, CJ retreated into his room. He sent a text message to his best friend – “God’s speed” – and posted an update on his Facebook page: “Who turned out the light?” CJ held a 22-caliber rifle in one hand, his smartphone in the other and fatally shot himself. He was 17. Police found a suicide note written on the envelope of a college acceptance letter. His parents said he never showed outward signs of depression or suicidal ideation. “When we found him, his phone was still on, still in his hand, with blood on it,” Donna Dawley said. “He was so addicted to it that even his last moments of his life were about posting on social media.” (Kelly and General, 4/19)

Could Planting Gardens Be The Key To Preventing Shootings? These Grays Ferry Residents Are Giving It A Go

The vacant lot used to be a dumping ground for litter, but about a month ago residents started giving it a makeover in hopes of improving community morale. And Glasgow, like many working to curb Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis, believes it could significantly reduce the amount of gunfire in the area. … Transforming vacant lots has shown some promise for slowing violence. A 2018 University of Pennsylvania randomized control study found that when lots in low-income neighborhoods were cleaned up, the surrounding areas saw about a 29% drop in gun assaults, while areas around lots left untouched saw no reduction. (Caiola, 4/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.