It’s not only schools where young people in the U.S. face gunfire. The vast majority of gun-violence victims are boys, and homicide rates are highest among African Americans. Among industrialized countries, 91 percent of children under 15 killed by guns die in the U.S.
Government data and academic research on gun violence show that young people in the U.S. are at disturbing risk of getting shot by other children, by their parents, by themselves, or by strangers. No space is safe: children are struck by bullets at home, at the park, at school, reports The Trace. This year, at least 50 people have been shot or killed on a school or college campus, and the U.S. averaged one school shooting every week. This includes incidents that took place on school grounds where at least one person was shot, not counting the shooter.) Drill down into the statistics on gun violence, and the damage becomes even more stark: Nineteen children a day are killed or hurt by guns that were too easy to access; more than 150,000 students study in schools where shots have rung out since Columbine; hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on medical treatment to save young lives.
As common as it may be for children to be struck by bullets, their rates of victimization are not happenstance. The toll is a product of the nation’s prevalence of firearms (roughly 265 million guns in circulation) and pro-gun policies and gun-industry marketing that can lead to unsafe behaviors among adults who possess firearms while raising children. On average, 1,300 children die and nearly 5,800 are treated for gunshot wounds each year, according to a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of gun-violence victims are boys, who comprise 82 percent of those killed by bullets. Homicide rates are disproportionately high among African Americans; suicide rates are disproportionately high among whites and American Indians. Among wealthy, industrialized countries, 91 percent of children under 15 killed by guns die in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.