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No, Gun Violence Isn’t The Leading Cause Of Death Among Children


I recently wrote about an extraordinarily misleading Kaiser Family study that claimed “1 in 5” Americans have a family member who has been killed by a gun. Kaiser’s inflated findings were based on a small sample size of self-reported answers to questions that offered no useful limiting parameters.

In many ways, another endlessly repeated contention of gun controllers suffers from the same problem: Gun violence is the number one cause of death of children in America. Virtually every media outlet and Democrat repeats this contention — including, recently, the vice president. The claim is meant to conjure up distressing images of frolicking kids in parks and schools being gunned down by assault weapons.

And horrific events certainly happen in the country. We need not gloss over the evil of mass school shootings, even if they’re rarer than gun-control types would have you believe. But that does not give people license to make things up.

We don’t really know which study Harris based her comments on, if any. And different sources come to different conclusions. None of them, however, are grounded in our familiar understanding of “children.” These studies count adults who are 18 and 19, and sometimes up to 25, years of age. Americans under 18 can’t purchase guns legally. That age seems, at the very least, the most obvious divide between adults and children. Because when you take 18- and 19-year-old adults out of the equation, the number of gun-related deaths among kids plummets considerably.

According to the CDC, the number one killer of children between 1-14 are accidents — vehicular, suffocation, and drowning. Twice as many kids under 12 died in cars than from guns. Also, if these studies began at birth rather than starting at one, the leading killer of all children would be diseases and genetic abnormalities. Surely a one-year-old is as much a “kid” as a 19-year-old. (And if you begin at fetal viability, by far the leading killer of young people would be late-term abortions — more than 8,000 viable unborn, and probably more than 50,000 performed after 15 weeks.)

No doubt, after many years of decline, there has been a rise in juvenile criminality. And 19 and 18-year-olds are far more likely to engage in criminality than 14 and 15-year-olds. There has also been a rise in juvenile suicides over the last several years. It’s a mental-health crisis. None of the “reasonable gun safety laws” Harris is pushing address those problems.

Perhaps one day, with the advances in car safety technology and medicine, her claim about guns and kids will be true. Today it’s not.

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