(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced itself to America. How the nation dealt with it led to serious concerns over mental health in America. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 40% of adults experienced depressive disorder during the pandemic, including one in 10 teenagers. In many children from 1 to 18 years old, mental health issues went undetected as kids lost social contact with their friends and peers or experienced abnormal stress at home.
On Wednesday, April 20, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that in 2020 children and teens experienced more deaths by guns than at any other time in recorded history. The study compiled information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It concluded more kids died by guns than by car crashes, drug overdoses, or cancer.
Gun Shootings Up Among Children and Teenagers
During 2020, it would seem reasonable that car crashes would go down. People were home and not moving around much due to the emergence of the pandemic and lockdowns by the majority of states. Jason Goldstick is a research professor at the University of Michigan. He told NBC News it was the first time over the last 40 years when gun injuries took more kids’ lives than car crashes.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, data showed that firearm deaths among kids and adolescents increased by 29.5% in 2020. NBC News said it equated to over 4,300 kids killed by a firearm in 2020. Sadly, homicide was the leading cause of gun deaths in children, especially teens, with suicide not far behind.
Gun Ownership on the Rise
While the New England Journal of Medicine study didn’t give a specific reason for the uptick in gun deaths among those 1 to 19 years of age, NBC News inferred that the drop in car crashes and an uptick in gun sales may have been the culprit for the statistical swap. One study concluded that gun ownership increased significantly from 2019 to 2021, exposing 5 million more kids under 18 to guns.
One might think that all those new guns would lead to more accidental deaths, but as the NEJM chart shows, unintentional deaths were a only very small percentage of total gun deaths for kids 1-19. Responsible gun ownership and proper storage are key to keeping these numbers low and also helping to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.
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