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Report reveals gun violence is the leading cause of death of black children

Freddie Allen | 8/22/2013, 6 a.m.

Gun violence is the leading cause of death among black children and teens, according to a new report by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), a non-profit child advocacy group.

The report, Protect Children, Not Guns 2013, painted a grim picture of the national gun violence epidemic that is the second leading cause of death among all children ages 1-19. Only car accidents claim the lives of more children and teenagers than guns.

According to the report, white children were nearly three times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a gun. In stark contrast, “Black children and teens were twice as likely to be killed by a gun than to be killed in a car accident.”

Examining the most recent data available, the CDF study reported that 18,270 children and teens were killed or injured by guns in 2010.

“Children and teens in America are 17 times more likely to die from gun violence than their peers in other high-income countries,” stated the CDF report.

Despite the claims of pro-gun advocates, having a gun in the home does not make kids safer. In some cases, those homes are even more dangerous, because guns are present.

“A gun in the home makes the likelihood of homicide three times higher, suicide three to five times higher and accidental death four times higher,” stated the report.

The CDF report continued: “More than half of youth who committed suicide with a gun obtained the gun from their home, usually [using] a parent’s gun.”

In the last 50 years, white children and teenagers accounted for 53 percent of the gun deaths, and black children and teenagers accounted for 36 percent.

Yet looking at the gun deaths in 2010 alone, 45 percent of gun deaths and 46 percent of gun injuries were among black children and teens, according to the report, even though they account for only 15 percent of all children and teens living in the United States. Nearly 2,700 children died from gun violence that year.

The CDF report also challenged the perceived power of the National Rifle Association (NRA), a group founded in 1871 that promotes gun ownership, marksmanship and self-defense training in the United States. According to the report, the NRA represents a small segment of all gun owners, which may show why the NRA’s hard-line stance on gun control policies often contradicts that of most gun owners.

The report said that the NRA claims nearly five million members, but somewhere between 52 million and 68 million adults living in the United States own the roughly 310 million guns in circulation. That means that the NRA represents less than 10 percent of all adult gun owners in the United States.

In the wake of the Dec. 14 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six school staff, even a majority of NRA members (74 percent) were in favor of expanding background checks, at a time when NRA leadership fiercely opposed any bills that would do so.