Police Commander Rahman Muhammad stands outside a funeral home where a shootout wounded 15, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. Muhammad says there's been a big shift since he began work in the 6th district 25 years ago when gun violence revolved around narcotics or some other criminal enterprise. Now, he says, social media is often the driving force behind the shootings. Disputes often start out online as gang members who've grown up together are now rivals taunting each other over petty matters that escalate into tragedy. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Few things concern people more than the safety of their kids. That’s probably why a popular talking point that has been adopted by the media, anti-gun organizations, and anti-gun politicians lately is that “guns are now the leading killer of children.”

For instance, Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke recently tweeted that “gun violence is the leading cause of death among children and teens in Texas.”

Similarly, Dr. Annie Andrews, who’s running for Congress to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District, released an ad in which she claimed that “…guns are erasing our kids. They’re the number one killer of children in America.”

These are just a couple of examples, and no doubt countless more can be found amongst politicians and the gun control organizations that support them.

So, is what they are saying correct? Are gun-related injuries really the leading killer of children in America?

It largely depends on how you define “children.” Some people think of children as anything from toddlers through age 12. Others consider children to be anyone who isn’t 18 yet.

That distinction matters tremendously in discussing how many children die from gun-related incidents. That’s why it’s interesting when Mr. O’Rourke uses the phrase “children and teens”, because if you separate the two, then guns are certainly not the leading killer of children.

We can see this by examining the relevant data, which is publicly accessible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide very detailed statistics on public health, including data on underlying causes of death. This is found online through the CDC’’s WONDER tool, an acronym which stands for “Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research.” All of the data I am about to discuss can be found and replicated through the WONDER tool.

We’ll include all gun-related deaths, meaning we will count homicides, suicides, legal interventions, and accidents, so long as they involved a firearm. The comparison won’t include deaths amongst infants who die from congenital abnormalities or other similar infant mortality, although it should be noted such deaths drastically exceed the gun deaths data we are about to see.

I’m also going to define “children” as anyone aged 0 to 17, at least initially. This is the most expansive definition possible without also covering adults in the count.

Indeed, that’s something astute readers should watch out for – many articles claiming record amounts of “children” dying from gun-related causes reach that conclusion by calling 18- and 19-year-old adults “children.” That’s exactly what this Axios article does, for example, to claim that 4,368 “children” were killed by guns.

The CDC WONDER data tells us that nationally, there were 2,281 gun-related deaths among children and teens ages 0 to 17 in 2020. This comes out to a per-capita rate of about 3.1 per 100,000.

So, are gun-related injuries the leading cause of death for people ages 0-17? If you exceed infant mortality as we’re doing, then yes…barely. Car accidents are just behind gun deaths amongst this age group — by 50 — at 2,231 deaths per the CDC data.

What’s readily apparent in the chart above, however, is that a majority of the 2,281 deaths come from teenagers ages 13-17 who, in 2020, accounted for a total of 1,859 gun-related deaths. When you narrow the data down to just ages 0 to 12, guns aren’t even close to the leading cause of death, as the gun-related death total in 2020 then falls from 2,281 to 422.

To be sure, 422 children dying tragically is far too many, but that figure should be taken in its proper context. For comparison, 640 kids in that that same age group drowned in 2020. Other causes of death that exceeded gun-related injuries for that age range in 2020 include suffocation (1,434) and car accidents (907).

Guns aren’t the leading killer of children under the age of 13, nor are they even all that close to the top of the list.

Perhaps some would argue I’m splitting hairs by excluding teenagers in this way. That’s a fair point. But I would respond that when anti-gun advocates talk about “children” dying due to gun-related injuries, they’re trying to evoke images of school shootings like the horrors of Uvalde, or accidents such as little Timmy finding his negligent father’s gun unsecured and accidentally killing a playmate.

What they probably do not want you to think about is teenagers killing other teenagers, predominantly through gang-related violence. Such violence disproportionately occurs in cities run by anti-gun politicians who are in turn backed by gun control organizations.

It’s no secret that gang violence harms African American teens much moreso than teenagers of other races. It’s thus sadly unsurprising that the CDC’s data on gun-related deaths also reflects this grim reality.

Police crime scene shooting kids children
Crime scene evidence markers at the parking lot of the Searles Elementary School in Union City, Calif. where a deadly shooting of teenage boys took place. (Union City Police Department via AP)

Of the 1,859 gun-related deaths among teenagers (ages 13-17), 784 of those deaths were among black teens. That’s about 42% of the total, or roughly three times higher than what it should be given black teens’ share of the overall population.

The shameful truth is that the risk of gun-related death is heavily dependent on race. According to the CDC, the per capita rates of gun-related death among the 13-17 age group in 2020 were:

2.3 per 100,000 for Asians or Pacific Islanders
5.8 per 100,000 for White/Caucasian
6.9 per 100,000 for Hispanic/Latinos
10.1 per 100,00 for American Indians or Alaska Natives
25.2 per 100,000 for African Americans

To summarize, gun-related injuries are the leading cause of death in children and teens combined. But that’s misleading, because they are certainly not the leading cause of death in children under age 13. Moreover, even for teenagers, the degree of risk of gun-related deaths differs greatly based on the race of the teenager.

Children child memorial shooting gang
A memorial for Abdel Bashiti, 12, stands outside his father’s beauty store in Cleveland, Ohio. Two teenagers were arrested for shooting and killing Bashiti and wounding several others last Friday. Bashiti was helping his father during a Black Friday sale when he was caught in the crossfire. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

Humiliatingly for our country, black teens are far and away more likely to die due to gun-related injuries — more than twice as much — compared to children of any other race or ethnicity. For non-black teens, car accidents are still the most common cause of death.

This should go without saying, but no child or teen should die a violent death, whether it’s due to a homicide, an accident, or self-harm. But the gun control industry, always in search of a pretext to limit a constitutional right, isn’t going to make that kind of distinction.

If they really cared about saving children’s lives, they’d focus their energy on reducing the allure of gangs, combating depression in teens, and educating all children about safe gun handling.


Konstadinos Moros is an Associate Attorney with Michel & Associates, a law firm in Long Beach that regularly represents the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) in its litigation efforts to restore the Second Amendment in California. You can find him on his Twitter handle @MorosKostas. To donate to CRPA or become a member, visit https://crpa.org/.

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  1. We believe in truth, not facts.

    Facts are assertions of white privilege; important only for White Nationalists. Facts are tools of racism and suppression of minorities. Not all cultures value facts as validation of statements (or mathematical formulae).

    • You’re a man after my heart Jack!

        • As I read your words on here on TTAG, I notice the background color is appallingly White Supremacist.

          I’m outraged! Outraged, I tell you!

          It must be Black words on a Black background for racial equity!

          (Or something, I guess? 😉 )

      • “Oh you saw our training last month?”

        Unfortunately, no.

        I was trying to create a “word salad”, just to see if I could do it.(kinda fun, at that)

        Anti-gunners treat facts like water flowing around a rock.

        • The absurd word salads are often bullet points on my training slides. We are not quite at the point of Dacian writing our training scripts but it’s getting weirder by the year.

    • outrage evolves from the death of white kids…or maybe hispanic kids…but black kids don’t seem to count for much…we’ve become numb to it….

      • “we’ve become numb to it….”

        It is “who” is covered by the word “we”, that matters. Dims have proven loudly that black kids don’t matter. Given their advertised “care” for minorities, Dims are the last to decry deaths due to criminal action in their political strongholds.

  2. The ratio of deaths is 3.1 per 100,000 which is.000031 for 0-18. You would also have to break the numbers down to get a real picture of how these deaths are occurring, where and to whom. For example, 2/3 of all gun deaths are suicides not homicides. Are these kids being killed because they find a parent’s firearm and shoot someone because of misuse? Most of these kids are not being killed by mass shooters since mass shooting deaths are only a very small part of all firearm deaths. Are these deaths occurring primarily in cities or states that have strict firearm laws or in others? Do they occur most often in blue city/states or red city/states? Do they occur primarily in lower social economic communities, middle class communities or upper-class communities? Looking at numbers and percentages is really not a good way to analyze the problem. All of the above factors plus others i may have left out all explain far better what is going on than numbers alone.

  3. We will find that the Obiden jab for the chicom flu, will kill children/teens at a higher rate than firearms.

  4. Beto is losing ground quick here in D/FW area of Texas.
    The numerous cars owned by neighborhood HS seniors that once displayed ‘Beto’ stickers have been removed by the students. Spoke with a few I saw removing the stickers and asked why, was told they don’t agree with what he claims is our nations problems.
    My neighbor called me up a few weeks ago wanting to know the best way to remove a ‘Beto’ sticker from his college age daughters vehicle. Told him I could stop over the following day with a heat gun, Goo-Gone, microfibers and cleaner wax. I can remove it without leaving any trace a sticker was there. The next day she had three friend over, I removed ‘Beto’ stickers from four vehicles.👍

    Beto has huge issues here in Texas.
    The only vehicles I see on the road with ‘Beto’ stickers are driven by Skittles colored hair liberal arts teacher looking women. 😄

    • You’re doing a great community service, but it won’t stop his finding thousands of ballots in the trunks of cars that coincidentally are 100% marked in his favor.

      • Boxes of ballots will miraculously appear and tip the election his way on election night.

        Leftist Scum ™ have vowed they won’t be caught flat-footed like they were in 2016 again…

    • James,

      “The only vehicles I see on the road with ‘Beto’ stickers are driven by Skittles colored hair liberal arts teacher looking WOMEN.”

      How DARE you assume their/xeir gender????? Fascist, misogynist, racist, pigdog of a cishet fascist!!!! You don’t know what they “identify” as!!!

      Yeah, if it wasn’t for AWFLs (and I include dacian the demented and MajorStupidity in that category), the Leftist/fascists would be SOL.

    • especially when you consider Beto fantasized about running over kids with his car…this is one sick puppy…

    • Colonel,

      Y’all have done it twice, already, and yet the little twerp keeps popping up again. On the one hand, I enjoy the schadenfreude of all the Hollyweird “social activists” p***ing away fortunes supporting this clown, but on the other hand . . . this brainless, lying gigolo is harder to get rid of than herpes.

      Can you PLEASE promise me that, AFTER y’all get done curb-stompin’ his lying @$$ in November, I won’t have to tolerate dealing with him again???


    0 to 1 year:

    Developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth
    Conditions due to premature birth (short gestation)
    Health problems of the mother during pregnancy
    1 to 4 years:

    Accidents (unintentional injuries)
    Developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth
    5 to 14 years:

    Accidents (unintentional injuries)

  6. This behavior is simultaneously tragic and justification for the infringement of everyone’s rights while also being “culturally appropriate” and therefore the participants cannot be punished for their actions nor expected to behave differently.

    Gotta love it.

    • How conveeeenient. Who came up with this anyway? Let’s see…I don’t know. Let me knock on Mr. noggin. Who could trick us into going along with that? Could it be……….SATAN???

  7. Dims want people & children of color dead by any means necessary…be it gun violence, gang violence, covid , vaccines and abortion…if what I said wasn’t true they would be trying very hard to stop all of them…nuff said

  8. But doesn’t GANG VIOLENCE include GUNCRIME?? I’d be very surprised it f it did not in gun crazy America.

    • Don’t blame the tool my Socialist friend. Answer: It is gangs that are the HOMICIDE problem. Crips, Bloods, Crips, Bloods. The racist left has used the black community as a voting block for power, money, control…VOTES. Pure evil since the mid 60’s.

    • @Albert LJ Hall

      “But doesn’t GANG VIOLENCE include GUNCRIME??”

      All forms of gang violence include all forms of gang crime.

      The most used weapons rate in gang violence crime against the non-gang populace (meaning the innocent ordinary non-gang citizen) are knives, hand/feet/, blunt objects. The most used weapon rate in gang violence crime for gun crime is a gun, but in context its the least used weapon rate against the non-gang populace and the most used in inter-gang violence against the gang populace.

      Of ~1,300 knife attacks on innocent victims daily, over 68% are conducted by gang members committing targeted crimes with the intent to seriously harm or kill. But, in terms of crime targets of opportunity, of the ~3,500 innocent victims daily of attacks from hands-feet/blunt-object/other-weapon the higher rate is due mostly to 80% of these attacks being crimes of opportunity by gang members using hands-feet/blunt-object/other-weapon.

  9. @Geoff “I’m getting too old for this shit” PR
    “It must be Black words on a Black background for racial equity!”

    You might be on to something. The national flag of France is a white fleur-de-lis on a white background. So, maybe you gots a good eye deer.

  10. Gun violence and gun crime are false or made up crap terms. As is Assault Weapon.
    I’ve owned a variety of firearms for more than 50 years. Not once have I ever had a firearm slither out of the safe, crawl out of the cabinet, or climb out of the pick up and go commit a crime or act of violence. Every instance of gun violence, and every gun crime involves a human using the firearm to commit the crime or act of violence.
    Do we blame the vehicle for the drunk driver, or inattentive driver? Do we blame the shovel for the grave robber?
    Unless and until we choose to deal with the person behind the gun, or deal with the cultural and social issues behind the criminal acts, nothing will change.

    • “Do we blame the vehicle for the drunk driver, or inattentive driver? Do we blame the shovel for the grave robber?”

      You seem to overlook the power of the power of guns. While guns don’t go walkabout, they do talk to people, making people do things they otherwise wouldn’t.

      It is settled science that the jolt of power that comes from attaining the proper grip on a firearm, translate into an adrenaline that gives the holder super strength that can result in growing enormous muscles, sprouting shaggy hair, turning green, and saying, “You won’t like me when I’m mad.”

  11. theBiden still thinks the second Amendment is about deer hunting.
    Hes got a pretty good gig going on over there in the UCrane.
    Congress allots money to his buisness over there. The whooping from you cranes should be against theBiden it’s his war making him rich.
    I think another 1.6 billion should defeat the ruskins?
    Arm the Taliban
    Fondle adolescent girls on national tv
    China collisions
    Change the Constitution
    ,, ,,,, what’s it take?

    • mumbled something about the deer running through the forest in kevlar vests…what the hell is that about??…used to be “kids say the strangest things”….now it’s Joe….

  12. Jeff Cooper said “The consensus is that no more than five to ten people in a hundred who die by gunfire in Los Angeles are any loss to society. These people fight small wars amongst themselves.”

    • Ragnar,

      “Objection, Counselor; assuming facts not in evidence.” What is your basis for believing that any of the named individuals (to the extent that they are, in fact, separate individuals and not sock puppets) are actually over 18??? I can easily see ANY of them being pimply, 17 year old, basement dwellers, imposing on their parents and occupying their parent’s basement.

      • My basis, sir, is the length of commentary posts by the afore mentioned. Actual children seldom have the attention span to write a reply of such lengths as demonstrated by the Copy-Paste Mafia®. However, it is possible that they are in fact juveniles, based on the incoherent scribblings that we have come to expect from they/them/it.

      • And for insurance purposes…children include adults up to 25 if they’re still in school*. So what if little Timmy’s failed junior high ten to fifteen times…and slinging rock the entire time, he’s still just a child. AND an entrepreneur.

        *Doesn’t matter that’s supposed to be for college students.

  13. @SAFEupstateFML
    The absurd word salads are often bullet points on my training slides.

    “We are committed to the work ahead, because it is the people’s work, that which they mandated us to work on.. There is much work ahead to be worked on, before our work is finished.”

    Howz that one?

      • “Using a paragraph to communicate essentially nothing……… perfect”

        Wonder if I can make money writing sensitivity/diversity training materials?

        • To my continued amazement someone gets paid to produce it so why not just make sure you tick something off the minority/woman owned business requirements and you would be in the top 3 bids by default………..not a joke but occasionally funny.

  14. @SAFEupstateFML
    “make sure you tick something off the minority/woman owned business requirements ”

    Total bust, there.

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