|For Immediate Release
July 24, 2013
For More Information Contact:
Report Details the Physical and Psychological Impact of Child and Teen Gun Violence
WASHINGTON, DC (July 24, 2013) – Today, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) released a new report, Protect Children Not Guns 2013, describing efforts of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to block the truth about guns and to prevent enforcement of gun safety laws to protect children. While the NRA says they support enforcing gun laws, the report shows their efforts to block gun violence prevention research and make it more difficult for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to hold criminal gun dealers and gun traffickers accountable.
“As implausible as it might seem, this is our reality as a new CDF public education campaign by Fallon Worldwide shows, nearly three times more children and teens were injured by guns in 2010 than the number of U.S. soldiers wounded in action that year in the war in Afghanistan. America’s military and law enforcement agencies have four million guns. Our citizens have 310 million. And we have no idea how many of those guns were purchased without a background check. The gun lobby has been enriching gun manufacturers at the expense of our children’s safety for far too long. For years the NRA has blocked the truth, and actively fought against the passage and enforcement of gun safety laws,” said Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund. “Together we can—and must—raise our individual and collective voices and demand our political leaders do better right now to protect children, not guns.”
Working with its allies in Congress, the NRA has succeeded in:
- preventing law enforcement from using gun trace data linking crime guns to the retailers that first sold them in some legal proceedings;
- prohibiting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from requiring dealers to keep inventories of their stock of weapons;
- banning ATF’s electronic storage of gun sales records thereby preventing efficient analysis of data to find suspicious patterns and identify the sources of crime guns;
- limiting ATF’s resources and operating flexibility; and
- banning the disclosure of gun trace data to researchers and the public.
As a result, the ATF, which is responsible for ensuring guns are not sold to prohibited buyers, is unable to efficiently and properly enforce gun laws, and local law enforcement face unnecessary hurdles when trying to limit crime guns in their jurisdictions.
The NRA also has blocked guns from being regulated as a consumer product. Why in the world do we regulate toy guns and teddy bears and toasters but not a dangerous product that takes about 30,000 lives, including a child’s life every 3 hours and 15 minutes? That is special interest power run amok!
Protect Children Not Guns 2013 shows how gun violence exacts a high toll on children and society. The report includes the most recent statistics on child and teen gun deaths and injuries which show that in 2010:
- Guns killed more children under 5 than law enforcement officers in the line of duty: 82 preschoolers, compared to 55 law enforcement officers.
- 18,270 children and teens were killed or injured by guns: the equivalent of 17 classrooms of 20 children every week.
- 45 percent of gun deaths and 46 percent of gun injuries were among Black children and teens, although they comprised only 15 percent of all children and teens.
- Children and teens in America are 17 times more likely to die from gun violence than their peers in 25 other high-income countries combined.
- Children and teens die from gun violence in every state. The deadliest state was Alaska with an average of 8.7 gun deaths for every 100,000 children and teens each year from 2000 to 2010, more than twice the national rate of 3.6. Alaska was 21 times more deadly for children and teens than Hawaii, the safest state.
- Total gun deaths and injuries cost the U.S. $174.1 billion or 1.15 percent of our gross domestic product.
“What is it going to take for our political leaders to place protection of child and teen and adult lives ahead of the protection of guns and profits and their election to office? We can and must do better. Countless lives depend on it. We must push the President, members of Congress, governors, and state legislators to stand up to the NRA, gun manufacturers and sellers until protecting children’s lives takes precedence over protecting guns,” Edelman urged.
The report calls on Congress to protect children from gun violence by supporting common sense gun safety measures this year, including universal background checks, limits on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, public funding for gun violence prevention research, consumer safety standards for all guns, and resources and authority for law enforcement agencies to properly enforce gun laws.
The report contains a state-by-state breakdown of child and teen gun deaths; analysis of the psychological and emotional trauma of gun violence on children; comparisons of U.S. gun violence rates with other high-income countries; good and bad state actions on gun violence prevention; and an economic analysis of the cost of gun violence. The report also provides actions that individuals, communities and policymakers can take now to protect children from gun violence.