Source: NC Newsline
The recent rise in child mortality rates among children in the United States between the ages of 1 to 19 is deeply concerning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the mortality rate increased by 11% between 2019 and 2020 and by an additional 8% between 2020 and 2021. Even more alarming is the fact that the vast majority of these deaths are caused by gun violence. This is the largest increase in U.S. child mortality in more than 50 years, according to the study.
The number of children and teens under 18 who died from guns spiked by 50% between 2019 and 2021, according to the Pew Research Center, which also analyzed the CDC death data.
A poll published this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 25% of parents of children under 18 said they worry “every day” (12%) or “almost every day” (13%) about themselves or someone they love becoming a victim of gun violence.
“This increase in all-cause pediatric mortality has ominous implications,” Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor of population health and health equity at Virginia Commonwealth University and lead author of the study wrote. “A nation that begins losing its most cherished population — its children — faces a crisis like no other.”
Republicans in Raleigh have already removed important precautions and accountability around gun safety in the state by removing the required permit to own a pistol. Now some GOP members are even seeking to remove the permit required to carry a concealed weapon and lower the age to do so from 21 to 18.
We know that states that have weakened concealed carry laws have seen a 29% increase in violent crime involving guns. We also know that 18- to 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at TRIPLE the rate of adults over 21 years of age. So we have to ask why do Republican leaders continue to put our children at greater and greater risk of harm and death by allowing guns to be accessible to those who would cause harm?
As a society, we must recognize that gun violence is a public health crisis that requires urgent action. Children are our most vulnerable population, and they deserve to feel safe in their communities and schools. However, the rise in gun violence is robbing them of their right to safety and protection.