A disturbing trend has risen in the last few years: Gun-grabbing leftists claim that firearm fatalities are the leading cause of childhood mortality. These same people – and many establishment media outlets, of course – have tried to fool Americans about the number of “gun violence” deaths for years by pretending that suicides and homicides are the same thing, so applying that same trick to childhood mortality was probably the inevitable next step. But it’s no less a lie than the older, more familiar ploy.
Suicides, Homicides, and the Truth About Firearm Fatalities
Jill Biden, who seems to have been declared an expert on the matter simply for being the president’s wife, asked during a gun violence prevention event on Jan. 25: “How can we accept a world where the leading cause of death for our children is gun violence?” It’s a good question with a simple answer. We don’t. That is simply not the state of reality in America.
Just a short time before, on Dec. 7, ABC News ran a story with the headline: “More than 40,000 people killed in gun violence so far in 2023.” No, they weren’t – at least not in the way you’re supposed to assume from that title. Not even close.
The problem – both for the leftists who hope to disarm society and the folks who don’t know any better but to believe them – is that suicides and homicides are two different things. Consider the ABC headline. The wording makes it sound like 40,000 people were murdered – and it’s hard, even when trying to be charitable, to believe the people behind what certainly seems to be blatant deception don’t know that. Especially when the subtitle (something one doesn’t see until clicking to open the page – it doesn’t appear in the search results) reads: “More than half of all gun violence deaths this year were deaths by suicide.”
Perhaps some would classify suicide – by any means – as an act of violence, but that’s certainly not what comes to mind when it is mentioned. In general, violence implies an act of aggression against another person, conjuring the involvement of at least two people, one or more aggressor against one or more victim. Again, that seems to be the primary goal of those who say things like, “The U.S. has surpassed 39,000 deaths from gun violence every year since 2014,” as ABC did.
Sources Matter – So Pick the Right Ones
Without even having to find a less biased, more reliable source, one can see farther down in the article that, though “40,167 people have died from gun violence” that year, 22,506 were suicides. There were only 17,661 non-suicide gun deaths, then, by their reckoning – and that doesn’t necessarily mean murder. But those numbers are from the beginning of December. How about a look at the whole year at the end of the month? According to The Gun Violence Archive, there were a total of 18,942 non-suicide gun deaths in 2023. When we pull defensive gun use (1,211) and accidents (1,584) out of that, we’re left with 16,147 homicides. That’s a far cry from the more than 40,000 murders we’re led to believe occurred by the ABC headline.
For the official numbers, it’s best to consult the CDC or the FBI, though, sadly, each tends to run at least one year behind. The latest year for which all the mortality data are available from the CDC is 2021. But that’s fine. As The Trace – another site dedicated to tracking firearm fatalities in America – reported, homicides are actually down 12.3% from 2022, which itself came in under the 2021 record.
Real Leading Cause of Childhood Mortality
“Of those who died, 1,306 were teens and 276 were children,” the ABC story added. These numbers seem to have come from The Gun Violence Archive, it’s important to note – but neither source told how many of those were homicides and how many were suicides, a common trend among research groups and media outlets that also advocate for gun control.
Mrs. Biden, as she addressed the nation nearly two months later, said she doesn’t want to have to put her hand on another cross with an eight-year-old’s name on it. It’s probably safe to say that everyone feels the same. “Enough is enough,” she said – and she’s right. There has been more than enough violence against children, but there also has been more than enough misrepresentation of statistics to tug on the heartstrings of America and “guilt” the people into accepting another unconstitutional yoke on liberty.
Using the CDC’s data, the total death toll of children ages one through four in 2021 was 3,816. It was 5,975 for the five to 14 category and 13,407 for teens aged 15-19. The leading cause of death across the board was accidents (unintentional injuries).
Assault (homicide) came in third for the one-to-four and five-to-nine age ranges and fourth for ages 10-14. For teens it was number two. Suicide was the third top killer of teens, second for kids aged 10-14, and didn’t rank at all in top 15 in the other two categories. Note that these aren’t split into firearm and non-firearm homicides and suicides; these are the total regardless of method.
A deeper dive into the data revealed that even when suicides and homicides were combined, only in the 15-19 age range did violent deaths barely surpass the accidents. And in the total for all those age groups that could be considered children, suicides and homicides combined didn’t come close to topping accidental deaths – and, again, that’s with or without guns.
School shootings and other crimes against children are tragic. Few would deny that even one child’s death is too many. But lying about the magnitude of murder’s share of the annual death toll for any age range won’t end the violence.