by Photo by Thomas Def via Unsplash

Firearms are now the leading cause of death for one and older, according to 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Firearm-related mortalities have been on the rise, but a research letter citing the CDC’s 2020 data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a 29.5 percent increase in deaths among children and adolescents between 2019 and 2020— “more than twice as high as the relative increase in the general population”.

More kids are involved in firearm homicide, like the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in addition to suicides and accidents. 

Previous analysis, which examined data through 2016, showed that firearm-related injuries were second only to motor vehicle crashes. 

“Since 2016, that gap has narrowed, and in 2020, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death in that age group,” the letter reads. 

In 2020, more than 4,300 children and adolescents died from guns. Car crashes that year killed roughly 3,900 in that age group.

The third leading cause of death in that age group is drug overdose and poisoning, which increased by 83.6% from 2019 to 2020. According to the data, this change is largely explained by the 110.6% increase in unintentional poisonings from 2019 to 2020. 

Authors of the research letter published in the journal wrote “the increasing firearm-related mortality reflects a longer-term trend and shows that we continue to fail to protect our youth from a preventable cause of death.” 

Gun violence in the US has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.

"The reasons for the increase are unclear," the research letter said. "It cannot be assumed that firearm-related mortality will later revert to pre-pandemic levels".

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