Children's Deaths by Firearms

In a speech to the Economic Club of Detroit in May 1999, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., committed to speak often on the issue of gun crimes. To date, he has made 276 Senate speeches on gun crimes since 1999; his remarks follow:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mr. President, after more than a decade of decline, the number of children and teens killed by firearms is again increasing. I would like to take a moment to break down some of the statistics that contribute to this alarming fact. An analysis of firearm violence data by the Children's Defense Fund found that 3,006 children and teens were killed by guns in 2005. This marked the first time that more than 3,000 kids were killed by firearms in many years and the first yearly increase in the number of children's deaths since 1994. Broken down, this amounts to 1 child or teen dying every 3 hours in America, 8 children a day, or 58 children every week.

Firearms are the cause of death of more children between the ages of 10 and 19 than any other cause except car accidents. In 2005 alone, a shocking 69 preschoolers were killed by firearms. Between 1979 and 2005, gun violence took the lives of over 104,000 children and teens.

A closer look at these 3,006 tragedies show 1,972 children and teens were homicide victims, 822 children and teens committed suicide, and 212 children and teens died in accidental or undetermined circumstances; 2,654 were boys and 352 were girls; 404 were under the age of 15, 131 were under the age of 10, and 69 were under the age of 5.

More than five times as many children and teens suffered nonfatal gun injuries during the same period.

Mr. President, these staggering statistics cannot and must not be ignored. We must strengthen our gun laws to limit children's assess to guns. As a father and a grandfather, I urge my colleagues to take up and pass sensible gun safety legislation so that this frightening trend will not continue.