The expected response in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, would assumedly be stricter gun control measures in preventing child gun deaths. But thanks to stagnant action in gun control legislation, children are now dying from gun violence every other day.
An NBC News analysis found that 554 children under the age of 12 have died from gun shots since the shooting in Newton, Connecticut — a chilling number that adds up to one child being killed by firearms every two days in the United States.
NBC News compiled data of gun statistics and found that while violent crime is trending downwards, children are still no safer from gun-related violence than they were before Sandy Hook.
Mass shootings take center stage in the media, but these incidents only make up a small portion of child gun deaths. Most of America’s youngest victims die from homicides, suicides and accidents that rarely get noticed.
“Mass shootings get all the attention, but they are a small part of the overall problem,” Jeffrey Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, told NBC News. “On the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting, about 90 other people died as the result of a shooting.”
Homicides, which make up a whopping 59 percent of child gun deaths, do not typically result out of conflicts with strangers but rather happen inside the child’s home at the hands of family members and acquaintances. At a terrifying rate of 75 percent, this theory that a gun in the home can protect you and your loved ones is already met with questioning agony.
From 1999 to 2014, 6,495 children and teens under the age of 15 died from firearms, a tiny percentage compared to the 497,632 U.S. gun deaths over that same time frame. Yet in 2014, 460 children and teens died from gunshot wounds —the highest number since 1999. And in this significantly violent year, the overall death rate rose from 0.6 per 100,000 population to 0.8.
The Sandy Hook mass shooting should have prompted immediate strengthening of gun control measures, yet Congress failed to enact appropriate legislation.
The manipulative lobbying efforts by the National Rifle Association have actually made gun accessibility increasingly easier.
While NBC News reports gun control laws have strengthened in 15 states since the shooting, those efforts have largely been undermined by many states' pro-gun initiatives.
Under the influence of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre’s infamous mantra “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” states like Arkansas and Texas expanded the boundaries where firearm permit holders could carry their weapons to include polling stations and university campuses. And Kansas passed an outrageously dangerous law this year allowing individuals to carry concealed guns without a permit or proper training — a move that is just begging for trouble.
This “bad guy vs. good guy with a gun” notion in deterring violent criminals has been widely debunked as false propaganda. Several studies have concluded that gun owners are not well-equipped in defense, instead more likely to injure themselves or someone else as opposed to stopping a killer.
As children are dying almost every day as a result of this alarming gun violence epidemic, Congress and government institutions remain fearfully beholden to the gun nut lobby - simply averting their eyes away from startling data.
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