Children & Firearms: Definitions and Demographics Make all the Difference
By - April 29, 2024
We’ve all read the headlines, “Guns are the number one killer of kids in America.”  Unfortunately, that headline is grossly misleading.
To better understand children and firearms, we must first understand the definitions of adolescents and exactly what gun violence is. Looking at data with clearly defined terminology is the first step to having an effective conversation on this topic — otherwise, we will never get to the root of the problem.
Ammo.com‘s research focuses on children and adolescents <1-17 to paint a clearer picture of adolescents and guns in the U.S.
It’s our goal to be as transparent as possible while conveying data related to this topic. The difference between a child and an adolescent is marked by puberty, environmental factors, and independence.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is marked by “rapid physical, cognitive, and psychosocial growth” according to the World Health Organization. This has significant impacts on their emotional state, how they make decisions and interact with their environment.
According to the CDC, puberty typically occurs between the ages of 12 – 14.
It should be emphasized that it is illegal for an individual <1-17 to possess a handgun in 49 states; however, 30 states allow minors to possess long guns for hunting and recreational activities with parental consent.
You can see a comprehensive list of the sources used here.

Are firearms the leading cause of death for children?

No, firearms are not the leading cause of death for children. Rather, it is the leading cause of death for adolescents in urban centers with a high prevalence of gang membership.
Many studies on adolescents and gun violence include individuals who are between 18 and 19 years old. Others include individuals up to age 24. Unfortunately, this adds a layer of complexity to the topic of gun violence and children.
Nuanced terminology skews the data and distracts conversations away from root problems.
Continue learning more about the statistics around children and firearms.
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