June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, now entering its third year. That we need to have an awareness day about gun violence in America is disturbing enough, let alone three years in a row with no clear indication for when the day is no longer needed. According to the Brady Campaign, nearly 115,000 people are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention — every year. Of these, more than 17,000 of them are children under 19 years old. Here are the six most sobering statistics showing how many kids have been affected by gun violence in 2017.
After the Newtown shooting massacre that resulted in the deaths of 27 people — 20 of them elementary school children — it seemed as though the United States just might hear the clarion call to put an end to unnecessary and senseless gun violence death. Just a month after the shooting, President Obama could barely contain his anger and sadness at the deaths of these 20 children, calling on every American to say enough is enough because only then can make common-sense gun reform actually happen.
And yet, here we are: Five years later — with entirely too many funerals held by families who've lost a child to gun violence since Newtown.
Children Killed Or Injured By Guns
The Gun Violence Archive maintains an online database of every shooting in America reported in the news. As of June 1, 2017 — just six months into the year — of children ages 0 to 11, 256 have been killed or injured by guns.
The Everytown Research Center, created in the wake of Newtown, maintains meticulous numbers related to children and gun violence. In 2017, there have already been 107 child shootings where a child under 17 has unintentionally killed or injured someone with a gun. One of the major factors that led to children getting their hands on guns? Adults did not properly secure firearms in the home.
Children In Homes With Unsecured Firearms
A 2002 study in the journal Pediatrics found that as many as 1.69 million children reside in a home with unsecured firearms.
Teens Killed Or Injured By Guns
Again, citing the Gun Violence Archive, 500 teens have been killed or injured by guns in 2017, as of June 1.
States That Allow Guns In Schools
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified during her confirmation hearing that she thinks guns should be allowed in schools on a national level. Her reason? Grizzly bears. In the United States, 18 states allow teachers or other adults to carry firearms on school campuses, according to NBC News, as of 2013.
Children Shot & Killed By Police
We tell our children that the police are there to help and protect them, and yet, police shooting deaths are a frightening reality in America. In 2017, there have already been 12 children who have been shot and killed by police, according to The Washington Post's Fatal Force searchable online database of police shootings in the United States.
These myriad of statistics reveal the disturbing and deadly prevalence of how gun violence affects America's children: If ever there was a time for the U.S. government to stand up to the unrestricted pro-gun lobby and the devastating effects of gun violence on children, it's now. But we can't forget that these aren't just numbers kept in databases: These are children who are buried in the ground. They were someone's sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, nieces, or nephews — shouldn't this country be doing everything in its power to protect them from gun violence?