Children & Teens
What is the problem?
Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the United States.1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death, Injury Mechanism & All Other Leading Causes. Data from 2021. Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death. A yearly average was developed using four years of the most recent available data: 2018 to 2021. Ages 0 to 19. Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund, “A More Complete Picture: The Contours of Gun Injury in the United States,” December 2020, https://every.tw/33Hto3F. and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence.3David Finkelhor et al., “Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence,” JAMA Pediatrics 169, no. 8 (August 2015): 746-54, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676. Everytown’s analysis derives the 3 million number by multiplying the share of children (ages 0 to 17) who are exposed to shootings per year (4 percent) by the total child population of the US in 2016 (~73.5 million).
Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms. Exposure to gun violence has an impact on the psychological and mental well-being of children and teens and affects their school performance, among other factors.4David Finkelhor et al., “Children’s Exposure to Gun Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey,” US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, October 2009, https://bit.ly/PwXoZN; Eboni Morris, “Youth Violence: Implications for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Urban Youth,” National Urban League, 2009; Patrick J. Fowler et al., “Community Violence: A Meta–Analysis on the Effect of Exposure and Mental Health Outcomes of Children and Adolescents,” Development and Psychopathology 21, no. 1 (2009): 227–59, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579409000145. When homes, neighborhoods, and schools are not safe from gun violence, entire generations of American children are affected.
What are the solutions?
Secure Gun Storage
Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely. This means storing them unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
Extreme Risk Laws
When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. Extreme Risk laws, sometimes referred to as “Red Flag” laws, allow loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.
Smart Guns and Gun Safety Features
A personalized—or “smart”—gun is a firearm that employs authorized-use technology, like the thumb scan or passcode available on many smartphones, to turn stolen guns and guns accessed by children into harmless pieces of steel. If widely implemented, it would be a game-changer for keeping guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
Reconsider Active Shooter Drills
95% of American public schools drill students on lockdown procedures. Yet, there is almost no research affirming the value of these drills for preventing school shootings or protecting the school community when shootings do occur.
Stop Arming Teachers
To prevent tragedies we must implement strong school safety solutions, but arming teachers is not one of them. School shootings are chaotic and in these moments of chaos, we cannot ask teachers to stop a shooter, potentially a former student.
Threat Identification and Assessment Programs in Schools
The most important thing that schools can do to prevent active shooter incidents—and gun violence overall—is to intervene before a person commits an act of violence. Threat assessment and identification programs allow schools to intervene to address potential violent behavior.
Background Checks on All Gun Sales
Background checks are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy. Current federal law requires that background checks be conducted whenever a person attempts to buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer. This is to ensure that the buyer is not legally prohibited from having the gun.
How To Stop Shootings and Gun Violence in Schools: A Plan to Keep Students Safe
We need meaningful actions to keep our schools safe, actions that address what we know about gun violence in America’s schools.
The Rise of Firearm Suicide Among Young Americans
Firearm suicide is having a devastating impact on American youth, particularly during COVID-19. But suicide can be prevented.
Preventable Tragedies: Unintentional Shootings by Children
Unintentional shootings by children are a persistent, yet preventable, tragedy that disproportionately involves preschool and teenage boys.
The Impact of Active Shooter Drills in Schools
Since the 1999 Columbine shooting, active shooter drills have proliferated in America’s school systems at an exponential rate.
Not An Accident: Unintentional Shootings by Children
Every year, hundreds of children unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else after accessing unsecured guns. This is not an accident.
Gunfire on School Grounds
Since 2013, Everytown has tracked incidents of gunfire on school grounds to learn how often youth are affected by gun violence.
Children & Teens
Two Decades of Suicide Prevention Laws: Lessons from National Leaders in Gun Safety Policy
In order to understand the variability in state-level firearm suicide rates, Everytown has examined the role of state gun safety policies.Report
How Can We Prevent Gun Violence in American Schools?
School leaders and policymakers must support and implement strong gun safety laws and school-based interventions.Fact Sheet
Cómo detener los tiroteos y la violencia armada en las escuelas: Un plan para mantener seguros a los estudiantes
Necesitamos acciones significativas para mantener nuestras escuelas y las comunidades circundantes seguras en los Estados Unidos.Report
A Continuum of Gun Access Interventions for Preventing Gun Suicide
Gun access interventions exist on a continuum, a chain of actions that can be taken depending on the severity of the crisis.Fact Sheet
Guide to Secure Gun Storage Devices
Secure gun storage can prevent theft and access by children, unauthorized users, and anyone who may pose a danger to themself or others.Report
Gun Violence in America
We have gathered the most comprehensive, publicly available data to illustrate the magnitude of everyday gun violence.Report
Keeping Our Schools Safe: A Plan for Preventing Mass Shootings and Ending All Gun Violence in American Schools
The failure of our leaders to address the root causes of school gun violence is having lasting consequences for millions of children.Report
Unload, Lock, and Separate: Secure Gun Storage Practices to Reduce Violence
Secure gun storage practices should include unloading the ammunition, locking the gun, and storing it and ammunition in separate locations.Fact Sheet
The Impact of Gun Violence on Children and Teens
Children's exposure to gun violence has far reaching effects: An estimated three million children witness a shooting each year.Fact Sheet
Arming Teachers Introduces New Risks Into Schools
Introduction Arming teachers is opposed by school safety experts like law enforcement, and teachers and parents. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education…Fact Sheet