A new survey has found that gunfire kills or injures at least 19 children across the United States every day, with African-American teenagers being most affected by gun violence.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers, looking at data from death certificates and hospitals from 2002 through 2014, recorded a yearly toll of nearly 1,300 deaths and almost 6,000 nonfatal injuries from gun violence involving children ages 1 to 17.
The tally makes gunshot wounds the third leading cause of death for children.
Researchers also found that child suicide rate involving a firearm increased by 60 percent during that time, with majority of unintended deaths resulting from people playing with guns.
Homicides and suicides accounted for most of the child gun deaths while assaults caused most of the nonfatal injuries.
Boys were found to be especially vulnerable to gun violence, accounting for 82 percent of gun-related deaths and 84 percent of all non-fatal gun injuries.
“The majority of these children are boys, 13 to 17 years old, and African-American in the case of firearm homicide, and non-Hispanic white and American Indian/Alaska Native in the case of firearm suicide,” said lead author Katherine Fowler of the CDC.
The findings highlight the reasons why researchers brand gun violence as a public health crisis in the US, where easy access to firearms has long compounded the problem.
Such research “is fundamental for understanding the problem and developing scientifically sound solutions,” Flower said.
Statistics by the CDC show that firearms kill more than 33,000 people in the US every year, a number that includes accidental discharges, murders and suicides.
It is estimated that there are between 270 million and 300 million guns in the US, about one per person, according to the New York Daily News.