Leading cause of death among adolescents is firearms-related, experts say

CDC states a 29% increase of firearm-related deaths among adolescents

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The University of Michigan has released an analysis that firearms are now the leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States.

According to the university’s data from the CDC, there’s been about a 29% firearm-related death increase among adolescents from 2019 to 2020. In 2021 nine children were shot with unsecured guns. The CDC also notes that 86% of all victims of firearm-related deaths are males.

In the past 24 hours, a 3-year-old boy on Detroit’s west side was shot in the head with a gun left on a bed at his home. Officials say that the child was in stable condition on Thursday morning, but that isn’t the case for many other victims.

Read: Boy, 3, shoots self in head with gun left on bed, Detroit police say

Firearm-related deaths among children have surpassed motor vehicle crashes, which data shows were a consistent leading cause of death among those between 1 to 19 years old. Studies show that in 2020, there were about 3,900 fatalities among adolescents by car crashes.

“Motor vehicle crashes were consistently the leading cause of death for children and adolescents by a fairly wide margin, but by making vehicles and their drivers safer, these types of fatalities have drastically decreased over the past 20 years,” said Patrick Carter, the co-director of the institute and associate professor of emergency medicine, health behavior, and health education.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence states that 4.6 million minors in the United States live in homes with at least one loaded unlocked firearm. The organization states that over one-third of children belonging to those households can access the loaded firearm in less than five minutes.

There are 29 states, and Washington D.C., that have laws that penalize parents of a child who can get access to their guns. They’re known as child access prevention laws or CAP laws.

Assistant Professor Receccah Sokol, from Wayne State University, told Local 4 in March that the state of Michigan doesn’t have a child access prevention law.

More: What experts say can be done to prevent accidental shootings involving children

Studies show that in 2020 alone, more than 45,000 people of all ages died as a result of firearms.

“Firearm violence is one of the most critical challenges facing our society, and based on the latest federal data, this crisis is growing more and more intense,” said U-M Vice President for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Rebecca Cunningham.“As a nation, we turn to scientific evidence to prevent injuries and deaths, and firearms should be no different. Michigan has incredible expertise in this space, and we will continue to use our collective knowledge to create safer and more vibrant communities nationwide.”

Other news: Father shot and killed by neighbor in Oxford Township

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.