April 9, 1996 in Nation/World

Guns Kill More Kids Than Ever Firearms Second-Leading Cause Of Death Among Children 10-19

Laura Myers Associated Press

Gunfire is the second-leading cause of death among Americans aged 10-19, the Children’s Defense Fund said Monday. And firearm deaths are increasing faster among youth than any other age group.

The result: In 1993, a child died every 92 minutes from gunfire, most often murdered, the report said. The leading cause of death among young people remained accidents, primarily involving motor vehicles.

“This information really should set off alarm bells for every mother and father in America,” said Enola Arid of the nonpartisan advocacy group. “It is, unfortunately, not surprising. We have not done what we should be doing to try and keep our children safe and away from guns.”

According to the defense fund report, data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics show the number of gunfire deaths among Americans below age 20 increased 7 percent in 1993, to 5,751 from 5,379, in 1992.

That compares with a 4.8 percent 1992-to-1993 increase in gun deaths among all age groups, from 37,776 victims to 39,594.

“The morally unthinkable killing of children has not only become routine but is increasing in the world’s leading democracy,” said Marian Wright Edelman, the defense fund’s president. “What will it take for parents and religious, community and political leaders to stand up and say enough?”

The defense fund complained that government does too little to keep guns away from schools and children and that Republicans in Congress want to lift gun restrictions, including the ban on assault-style weapons.

Congress passed a law under President Bush making it illegal to have a gun within 1,000 feet of a school, but the Supreme Court struck it down as outside federal jurisdiction.

xxxx Kids and guns An analysis of the 5,751 childhood gunfire deaths in 1993 showed this: 3,661 were homicides, 1,460 suicides, 526 accidents and 104 unknown. 2,935 victims more than half were white. 116 were below age 5. 141 were 5-9, making gunfire the fourth leading cause of death in this age group behind accidents, cancer and birth defects. 700 were 10-14, making gunfire this age group’s second-leading cause of death, ranked between accidents and cancer. 4,794 were 15-19, making gunfire that age group’s second-leading cause of death, again behind accidents and before cancer. But the gun was the leading cause of death among black males age 15-19. The gun death rate among black males 15-19 was 153.1 per 100,000, among their white peers 28.8 per 100,000. - Associated Press

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