Statistics on Youth Gun Violence & Gun Access

Posted on November 15, 2012

Firearm injuries are the cause of death of 18 children and young adults (24 years of age and under) each day in the U.S.1

Children and young adults (24 years of age and under) constitute 38% of all firearm deaths and non-fatal injuries.2

In the United States, over 1.69 million kids age 18 and under are living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms.3

More than 75% of guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries of 0-19 year-olds were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.4

A 2000 study found that 55% of U.S. homes with children and firearms have one or more firearms in an unlocked place; 43% have guns without a trigger lock in an unlocked place.5

In another study, 73% of children aged nine and under reported knowing the location of their parents’ firearms and 36% admitted that they had handled the weapons, including many whose parents had reported their children did not know the location of their firearm.6 It is therefore unsurprising that 89% of accidental shooting deaths among children occur in the home and that most of these deaths occur when children are playing with an unsecured loaded gun in their parents’ absence.7

The practices of keeping firearms locked, unloaded, and storing ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms may assist in reducing youth suicide and unintentional injury in homes with children and teenagers where guns are stored.8

Many young children, including children as young as three years old, are strong enough to fire handguns.9

  1. Nat’l Ctr. for Injury Prevention & Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS) Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010, for National, Regional, and States (Sept. 2012), http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/dataRestriction_inj.html (hereinafter WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010. Note: Users must agree to data use restrictions on the CDC site prior to accessing data). []
  2. Id., Nat’l Ctr. for Injury Prevention & Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS) Nonfatal Injury Reports, at http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/nfirates2001.html (last visited Nov. 20, 2012) (hereinafter WISQARS Nonfatal Injury Reports). []
  3. Catherine A. Okoro et al., Prevalence of Household Firearms and Firearm-Storage Practices in the 50 States and the District of Columbia: Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2002, 116 Pediatrics e370, e370 (Sept. 2005), at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/116/3/e370. []
  4. David C. Grossman, Donald T. Reay & Stephanie A. Baker, Self-inflicted & Unintentional Firearm Injuries Among Children & Adolescents: The Source of the Firearm, 153 Archives Pediatric & Adolescent Med. 875 (Aug. 1999), at http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/153/8/875. []
  5. Mark A. Schuster et al., Firearm Storage Patterns in U.S. Homes with Children, 90 Am. J. Pub. Health 588, 590 (Apr. 2000). []
  6. Frances Baxley & Matthew Miller, Parental Misperceptions about Children and Firearms, 160 ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRIC & ADOLESCENT MED. 542, 544 (2006). []
  7. Guohua Li et al., Factors Associated with the Intent of Firearm-Related Injuries in Pediatric Trauma Patients, 150 ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRIC & ADOLESCENT MED. 1160, 1162 (1996). []
  8. David C. Grossman et al., Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries, 293 JAMA 707, 711-13 (Feb. 2005). []
  9. Naureckas, S.M. et al, Children’s and Women’s Ability to Fire Handguns, 149 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 1318 (Dec. 1995). []