KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say guns are now the leading cause of death among American children.
Many urban core mothers in Kansas City said they know the pain of losing a child to gun violence.
Car crashes have been the leading cause of death in kids for several years, but that’s no longer the case.
Firearm deaths among kids between 1 and 19 jumped nearly 30% between 2019 and 2020. That’s the finding of a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Although mass shootings, like the one in Texas, have increased dramatically in the last 30 years, the majority of kids being killed by guns are happening in much smaller incidents.
Overall firearm violence also has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosilyn Temple lost a son to gun violence more than 10 years ago. Since then, she said gunshots seem to be taking the lives of more and more children.
“We as parents have to do better,” said Temple, who is founder of the group KC Mothers in Charge. “When we know something is going on with our children, we have to start doing something about it. That’s love. That’s the best love you can give them, is the attention of getting them help.”
Researchers said homicide caused 65% of child gun deaths, with the remainder attributed to suicide.
At Children’s Mercy Hospital, officials say 60 kids were treated for gunshot wounds last year. So far this year, the hospital has had 15 gunshot victims.
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