By mixing children ages 10-14 with older juveniles and young adults more likely to be in gangs, they leave room for misinterpretation. In 2007, there were 2,161 firearms homicide victims ages 0-19. Some interpret that as “6 kids a day murdered by firearms.” Of that total, 264 were children. While still serious, “0.7 children a day” doesn’t sound as dramatic.
In 2007, CDC reported that the firearms homicide rate for true children — under age 15 — was 0.43 (all rates per 100,000 population). For ages 10-14, it was 0.76; for ages 15-17, 5.93; for ages 18-19, 13.19.
Next, CDC didn’t report trends, which indicate decreasing violence. Since 1993, when homicide rates peaked, CDC data shows that child firearms homicide rates declined 54.7%, compared to a 41.1% decline for ages 15+.
Nationally, firearms homicide rates declined more than non-firearms rates (see table below).
Firearms homicide rates for children, already low at 0.95, dropped 54.7% between 1993 and 2007, to 0.43. The smallest rate decrease was in the population group outside this CDC study, age 20+. Children and juveniles saw greater-than-average rate decreases.
Interestingly, firearms homicide rates decreased faster than non-firearms rates, regardless of age group.
Firearm suicide rates decline
Firearm suicide rates, discussed in the CDC report, show similar trends. The child firearm suicide rate was 0.09 in 2007, down 73.6% since 1993. There were no firearms suicides for ages 0-9 in 2007; the rate was 0.26 for ages 10-14. Firearms suicide rates declined much faster than non-firearm suicides for children (see table below).
For ages 0-19, non-firearms suicide rates are higher than firearms rates, 1.19 and 0.82, respectively. Since 1993, the overall firearm suicide rate declined 23.2%, but the non-firearms rate climbed 16.3%. This increase included all age groups except children. If these trends continue, non-firearms rates may comprise over 50% of all suicides when the CDC releases their 2008 mortality data (see graph below).
While any child’s death is an important concern, these CDC data indicate that when it comes to firearms-related violence, children have become much safer over time.
2001-2 CDC gun ownership data: more guns, less homicide
Though firearms homicide and suicide rates have declined since 1993, one question may remain: Are reduced firearms rates due to reduced firearms inventory?
The CDC performed gun ownership surveys in 2001 and 2002, estimating the percent of gun ownership (PGO) by state. When PGO was collated with CDC homicide data, certain trends appear: As gun ownership increases, homicide rates decrease.
Both annual datasets were divided into quintiles, with quintile 1 containing states with the lowest PGO, and quintile 5 containing states with the highest PGO. The graph below shows the trends for each year by quintile. Spearman’s values were -0.60 in 2001 and -0.50 in 2002, both moderate negative correlations (more guns, lower homicide rates).
After isolating firearms homicide rates, these trends improve slightly: Spearman’s values were -0.60 for 2001 and -0.70 for 2002.
Regarding firearms homicide rates, Blacks benefited the most from living in high-PGO states. Spearman’s values were -0.90 in 2001 and 1.00 in 2002, strong and perfect negative correlations, respectively (more guns, lower homicide rates).
Comparing quintiles 1 and 5, blacks living in the highest PGO states experienced about 50% the total homicide and 45% the firearms homicide rates of blacks living in states with the lowest gun ownership.
Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives indicate that between 1993 and 2007, about 79 million firearms were sold in the U.S. About 35 million of these were handguns. During the same time, CDC data show the national firearms homicide rate declined 40.4%, and the firearms suicide rate declined 23.2%.
The CDC persists in hiding their anti-rights agenda within their “gun safety” research, but they haven’t bothered to learn from their own data.
(Homicide and child mortality data compiled from CDC’s WISQARS Fatal Injury Data into Excel workbooks; available to qualified researchers.)