In a report released this month, the Children’s Defense Fund has analyzed recent national data on gunfire deaths and produced some alarming figures on child casualties.
The report also criticizes a wave of new state gun-rights laws that the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group argues put children in ever more peril.
The nonprofit advocacy group dedicated its report, “Protect Kids, Not Guns 2012,” to Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead in February by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
George Zimmerman, 28, disregarded police advice and followed the unarmed Martin, 17, because Zimmerman thought the boy looked “suspicious.” Zimmerman killed Martin, who was walking to his father’s girlfriend’s home, during a confrontation and claims he acted in self-defense.
The Children’s Defense Fund report, which was released March 23, is based largely on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2008 and 2009. The group’s analysis found that 2,947 children and teens died from gunfire in 2008 and 2,793 died in 2009.
Over time, the report’s charts show, child gunfire deaths rose from the early 1980s to a peak of 3,625 in the homicide category alone in 1993. Gun deaths of children overall began falling until 2004, when homicides and suicides again began to fluctuate.
The group acknowledges that its analysis found that the total number of children and teens injured by gunfire fell in 2009 to 13,791 from a high over the last decade of 20,596 in 2008.
Among the report’s other findings: