Children in the United States are more likely to die at the hands of a gun than in a car crash, from a drug overdose or cancer.
That’s just one of the troubling statistics in a new Centers for Disease Control study that found firearms killed a record number of children in 2021.
A local mother who knows the grief of losing a child all too well, is calling for more to be done. From 2018 to 2021, there was a reported 42% increase in the rate of children killed by guns.
In 2021, more than 4,700 gun related child deaths were reported.
Whether the shooting is intentional or accidental — no community is immune. Jacksonville police say just last week, a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 6-year-old.
And just last month, two juveniles were arrested for a July shooting, where a 9-year-old girl was shot in the neck.
According to the CDC, there’s no sign of this gun violence trend slowing. News4JAX spoke with Haraka Carswell. Her foundation is a support group for local mothers who lost their children to gunfire .
“Grief is very hard for moms who deal with gun violence, because that’s something that’s been taken away,” Carswell said. “There’s a difference when you can kind of can prepare yourself for death. But to get your loved one taken away from gun violence, it’s a different type of hurt.”
Carswell says the latest statistics from the CDC are troubling.
The data shows Black children accounted for 67% of gun related homicides, while white children accounted for 78% of gun-related suicides.
Carswell says she thinks mental health is the common denominator.
“It plays a big part because it all starts from how a person is thinking. If they don’t think they are getting enough love, or they don’t think that they are getting enough attention, they sometimes end up going out on the streets, to look for that,” Carswell said.
The CDC study reveals that the 4,752 young lives were lost in 2021, surpassing the record total seen during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a statistic that Carswell says indicates that American’s gun violence epidemic is getting worse.
“It’s so easy for our youth to get hold of guns now. So for us, it’s all about, again, educating those kids on what’s important, and why we have guns for one to protect ourselves. Um, a lot of our youth are getting caught up in, you know, the shooting and killing that’s even in the music. That plays a big part as well,” Carswell said.
Statistics reveal teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 82% of gun related deaths in 2021. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina are among the states with the highest numbers of gun related deaths.