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For Immediate Release
September 23, 2009


For More Information Contact:
Ed Shelleby
(202) 662-3602


WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) released its annual Protect Children, Not Gunsreport finding an increase in firearm deaths among children and teens for the second year in a row, after a decade of decline prior to 2005. Using the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDF’s report shows that 3,184 children and teens were killed by firearms in 2006, a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

“Gun violence affects all of us by increasing health care costs, disrupting social services and decreasing national productivity,” said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. “We need to ensure that those we elect to public office enact legislation that will protect children by limiting the number of guns in our communities and controlling who can obtain firearms and the conditions of their use. Individuals and communities must act to end the culture of violence that desensitizes us—young and old—to the value of life.”

The 3,184 children and teens killed nearly equals the total number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq since the war started and is more than five times the number of American combat fatalities in Afghanistan.

Protect Children, Not Guns shows how gun violence exacts a high toll on society:

  • The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2006 would fill more than 127 public school classrooms of 25 students each.
  • More preschoolers (63) were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers (48) killed in the line of duty.
  • Since 1979, gun violence has ended the lives of 107,603 children and teens in America. Sixty percent of them were White; 37 percent were Black.
  • The number of children and teens killed by guns since 1979 would fill 4,304 public school classrooms of 25 students each.
  • The number of Black children and teens killed by gunfire since 1979 (39,957) is more than 10 times the number of Black citizens of all ages lynched throughout American history (3,437).

CDF’s report shows that every two hours and 45 minutes a child or teen is killed by a gun. That’s almost nine children and teens each day and 61 every week. More 10-19-year-olds die from gunshot wounds than from any other cause except car accidents.

Black males ages 15 to 19 are almost five times as likely as their White peers and more than twice as likely as their Hispanic peers to be killed by a firearm. Between 1979 and 2006, the yearly number of firearm deaths of White children and teens decreased by about 40 percent, while deaths of Black children and teens increased by 55 percent.

Protect Children, Not Guns outlines a series of action steps that individuals can take to help diminish the threat of gun violence to our communities. These recommendations provide practical approaches to reducing the number of child and teen gun deaths.

To view the full report, Protect Children, Not Guns, please visit