A new research has found out that guns overtook car crashes to become the leading cause of death for US children and teenagers in 2020.
According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 4,300 young Americans died of firearm-related injuries in 2020.
The study found out that even though suicides contributed to the toll, the homicides form the majority of gun-related deaths.
In the US over 390 million guns are owned by civilians with Americans mostly Republicans being staunch believers in gun rights and America’s gun culture .
According to the research – which was published Thursday, April 21 in the New England Journal Medicine – the rise in gun-related deaths among Americans between the ages of one and 19 was part of an overall 33.4% increase in firearm homicides nationwide.
Over the same time period, the rate of firearm suicides in the US rose by 1.1%.
The overall rate of gun deaths of all reasons – suicide, homicide, unintentional and undetermined – among children and teenagers rose by 29.5%, more than twice that of the wider population.
“We continue to fail to protect our youth from a preventable cause of death,” said a research letter published in the journal on Thursday.
The reasons for the increase are unclear,” the research letter said. “It cannot be assumed that firearm-related mortality will later revert to pre-pandemic levels”.
A separate study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in February, found that 7.5 million US adults – just under 3% of the population – became first-time gun owners during the pandemic between January and April 2021.
The rate of gun-related deaths per 100,000 residents rose among both men and women and across ethnic demographics between 2019 and 2020, with the largest increase among black Americans, the research showed.
In previous years, gun-related deaths were second only to car crashes as the leading cause of death among young Americans. Car deaths, however, have fallen over time and in 2020 approximately 3,900 Americans under 19 died in vehicle crashes.
While cases of drug overdoses and poisonings rose 83.6% between 2019 and 2020.
Drug overdoses and poisoning are now the third leading cause of death in that age group. A separate study published earlier in April found that 954 young people died of overdoses in 2020, compared to 492 in 2019.