We’ve Been Lied Too!
By Mike Menkus
We have heard the soundbites:
- “8 children are killed every day in America by guns” Million Mom March Website 1
- “There are five children a day killed with guns through either accidents or suicides. Five children a day in America are killed with guns.” Dr. Phil 2
When you think of children do you think of an 18 year old gang-member that was shot while buying crack cocaine? We don’t think so either!
The Real Statistics For Children (10 years old and younger)
To us, a child is 10 years old and younger. Using statistics from the Centers of Disease Control for unintentional deaths, we find that firearms caused 30 unintentional deaths in 2004. That is 30 per YEAR. Hardly, the 5 to 8 “children” per day. Firearms weren’t even in the top ten risks to children. 3
Here is the Unintentional Death data for 2004 for children from 1 to 10 years old.4
By focusing on vehicle safety, teaching children how to swim, and maintaining smoke detectors, we can eliminate over 74% of the risk factors to our children.
Context is very important. The numbers above are for unintentional deaths ONLY. If we look at Top 10 major categories of death from 2004 for children from 1 to 10 years old and then drill down and incorporate methods of homicide along with unintentional deaths, the impact of firearms is still not in the top 10 cause of deaths and is only 2% of the total deaths.5
False Statistics From the Media and Advocacy Groups
So where does the 5 to 8 child deaths figure come from? The media personalities and advocacy groups include the 15 to 19 year old age category.
Using Children Defense Fund data released in December 2006, we can see how they’ve “spiked” the data by including the age category of years 15 through 19. This age category has 7 times the number of firearms deaths than the COMBINED 1 through 14 age category. 6
Without the murders and suicides of the 15 through the 19 year olds, their data doesn’t support their premise that guns are killing thousands of children every year and should be banned. In our opinion, if you are old enough to vote, to procreate, to be married, drive, and to join the military, then you are a young adult, no longer a child.
In addition, young adults in 15 to 19 age bracket are significantly more likely to be engaged in criminal activity and to be arrested than children younger than them and adults older than them. The following chart is from the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice clearly shows this trend.7
Michael Menkus is presently a pricing analyst within the telecommunications industry. He is a graduate of Colorado School of Mines with a BS in Geophysical Engineering and Emory University with an MBA. He is a licensed Georgia Professional Engineer. His work experience includes oil exploration, environmental cleanup and risk assessment, and telecommunications network design and management. Michael competes in USPSA pistol competitions and is a certified USPSA Range Officer.
To contact the Author or for questions/comments about this article, please
1 Million Mom March of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, Top Banner, http://www.millionmommarch.com/
2 Elder, Larry, Kids, guns and Dr. Phil, Jewish World Review, Dec. 2, 2002 http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder120202.asp
3 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), Leading Causes of Death Reports, Data from 1999 and later, Number of Causes Top 10, Custom Age Range 1 to 10, 2004, Unintentional Injury drill down, http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html
4 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), Leading Causes of Death Reports, Data from 1999 and later, Number of Causes Top 10, Custom Age Range 1 to 10, 2004, Unintentional Injury drill down, http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html
5 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), Leading Causes of Death Reports, Data from 1999 and later, Number of Causes Top 10, Custom Age Range 1 to 10, 2004, Drill down and incorporate homicide and unintentional deaths http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html
6 Childrens Defense Fund, Protect Children, Not Guns,
7 Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends for 2001 (latest data), OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05301.asp?qaDate=20040801
Released on August 01, 2004.