100 Children Died In Unintentional Shootings In Year After Newtown

A study by Everytown for Gun Safety indicated that at least 100 children were unintentionally killed by gunfire since the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The report, titled, “Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths,” is an examination of the frequency, causes and victims of accidental shootings of children. The report says 73 percent of the deaths it counted involved a shooter who was a minor, which it defined as age 14 or younger. In 57 percent of cases, the victim was shot by someone else. In 35 percent of cases, the victim accidentally shot himself or herself. The youngest victims were most likely to shoot themselves. The eldest were most likely to be shot by peers.

Unintentional shootings of children occurred most often in places familiar to those who were killed. Eighty-four percent of victims were killed in their home, the home of a friend, or the family car, according to the study. In 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or other family member.

The killings occurred more often in small towns and rural areas than in cities. They occurred in 35 states.

The number recorded by Everytown is higher than some other sources suggest. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has projected that an average of 62 children ages 14 and under are accidentally shot to death each year.

As a percentage of total victims of gun violence, children who are unintentionally killed is quite small. But the 100 shootings over the course of the year averages out to almost two per week.

Part of the problem, Everytown argues, is poor education about the dangers of firearms and how to safely store them. The group advocates “well-tailored child safety” laws, including those “imposing criminal liability” for irresponsible gun storage. The report cites Florida’s “Child Access Prevention” law as one to emulate.

Gun safety is a section in my latest book, “Creating Safe Schools: A Guide for School Leaders, Teachers, Counselors and Parents”.  The book is available from my publisher, Routledge Press or Amazon.