According to The New York Times, the Gun Violence Archive found that more than 1,500 children and teenagers younger than 18 were killed in homicides and accidental shootings in 2021, compared with about 1,380 in 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a recent report that the rate of gun deaths of children 14 and younger rose by roughly 50 percent from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020.
Researchers say the increase is a fatal consequence of rising nationwide homicide rates, untreated traumas of COVID-19, improper gun storage, and a surge of pandemic gun-buying that is putting more children into close contact with guns as either victims or shooters.
The Crime Report suggest that much of the toll is concentrated in a few dozen big cities, with Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and Milwaukee at the top of the list. Despite 15 states pledging nearly $700 million toward gun-violence prevention, and larger cities like Philadelphia funneling millions into violence-intervention programs, youth leadership groups and community groups, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted many of these programs.
And while the recent school shooting in Michigan led to involuntary manslaughter charges being levied against the shooter’s parents, one of the first of such legal actions in the country, legal experts say that adult gun owners are rarely charged when their weapons are involved in shootings that kill children and teenagers. Although incidents like the high school shooting in Michigan garner national attention, many families say that the majority of shootings, which disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic children and teenagers in poorer neighborhoods, fail to elicit wider concern.
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