Over 96% of Firearms Related Deaths of “Children & Teens” are Intentional

  • Current comparisons between gun-related deaths of children & teens vs deaths involving motor vehicles is MISLEADING ON PURPOSE.
  • Majority of INCIDENTS INVOLVING FIREARMS ARE INTENTIONAL, involving murder, gang violence, or black-on-black crime, while most motor vehicle deaths are accidents.
  • Reducing firearms ownership is NOT A SOLUTION to homicides and suicides.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) {cited 2019 & 2020}. Available from: www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars From the CDC WISQARS database.
U.S.A. — Over 96% of firearms-related deaths of children and teens are intentional. Much has been written about the number of children and teens (people under the age of 20) who are killed in incidents involving firearms as being more significant than the number of people under 20 who are killed in incidents involving motor vehicles.

It is a ridiculous comparison.  It is meant to elicit an emotional response.

Nearly all incidents involving motor vehicles are unintentional deaths (accidents). There may be a few homicides and suicides. The vast majority of vehicle deaths are accidents.

Nearly all the incidents involving firearms are intentional. Murder, Gang Violence or Black-on-Black Crime. There are some accidents, but the vast majority are homicides. People are choosing to kill children and teens with firearms or choosing to kill themselves with firearms.

In 2019, 96.4% of those killed with firearms were intentional. In 2020, 96.5% were intentional. In 2019, 61% of deaths where the intent was known (homicide, suicide, or accident) were homicides; suicides were 35%. In 2020, homicides were 66%, Suicides were 30%

By contrast, fatal firearm accidents for all ages dropped more than 94% from 1933 to 2017.  Those small number of incidents cited are caused mainly by irresponsible adults. Nearly all firearm fatalities happen because someone decides to commit a crime, killing someone or themselves.

Intentional acts like murder or suicide allow for the substitution of methods. Because methods are easily substituted, when access to one method/tool is made more difficult, others are substituted in its place. This is commonly seen with homicide and suicides involving firearms. When firearms are highly regulated, the suicide and homicide rates do not change. There is a substitution of methods.

Researchers who want to see firearms more highly regulated focus on whether the number of homicides with firearms or suicides with firearms was reduced. It is a way to lie with statistics. If reducing homicides and/or suicides is the goal, it is the overall suicide or homicide rate which is important. If reducing firearms ownership is the goal, then the rate of firearms ownership is important. Focusing on homicides with firearms or suicides with firearms instead of the overall homicide or suicide rate is a way to transfer concern with homicides and suicides to concern with firearms.

Lumping all fatalities which involve firearms into a catchall Orwellian phrase of “gun violence” shows the emphasis is on reducing the number of guns, not the number of homicides or suicides.

Making one method more legally difficult than another does not change the intent of the individuals committing the actions. Those who demonize guns claim the availability and lethality of guns make suicide more common. The numbers show this is a false premise. For homicides, guns may make killing easier, but they also make personal defense easier. Homicide rates do not change or often show slight increases when it becomes more difficult to own guns legally, and it may be because the lethality of offense and defense offset each other.

Homicide rates drop when trust in the justice and legal systems increases. High-trust societies have low homicide rates, whether they have many guns or not. Suicide rates are high where suicide is accepted. Cultures that disapprove of suicide have low suicide rates.

When those who wish to reduce the number of guns in society claim such an action will reduce suicide and/or homicide rates, they ignore the actual means to reduce homicides and suicides. By transferring volition to the inanimate object of a firearm, they remove responsibility for their actions from people to the firearms (the gun made me do it!).

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten