The Corner

Politics & Policy

A New Study about Guns and ‘Children’

Pediatrics has published a new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control entitled “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States.” It’s straightforward, but worth reading if you care about homicide, suicide, and accidental death in this country. It covers nonfatal injuries in addition to deaths, and it explains how these incidents break down in terms of demographics, geography, and circumstances.

It also, unfortunately, seems designed to spur misleading news stories. Some of the statistics group together every gunshot victim age 17 and under; others group together those 0–12 and 13–17.

The problem is that most of us don’t see 16- or 17-year-olds as “children,” and that’s where the deaths are overwhelmingly concentrated, even within the “older children” (13–17) group. So while media coverage of the study leads off with gun accidents killing toddlers and third-graders, the actual gun-death data (which I pulled myself from the CDC’s online system) look like this:

(Those are annual rates of firearm death per 100,000, with the data combined from 2012–2014, as in the study.)

Every child death is worth preventing, and gun owners with kids absolutely should store their weapons securely. But America’s gun problem is overwhelmingly about homicides and suicides among teens and adults, not about young children finding their dads’ Glocks, and inversely, firearms are far from the biggest risk that young kids face. Kids ten and under are more than three times as likely to drown as to die from a gunshot (accidental or otherwise), for example, and more than four times as likely to die in a car accident.

Accidents involving children may draw attention to the gun issue, but they’re quite far from that issue’s heart.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
Elections

The Democrats Made Two Joe Biden Miscalculations

I think it's safe to say that there are many, many progressive Democrats who are more than a little surprised -- and a lot chagrined -- at Joe Biden's polling dominance. Look at FiveThirtyEight's polling roundup. Aside from a few high and low outliers, he leads the race by a solid 20 points (at least). Even ... Read More