Since 1979, America has lost 119,079 children and teens to gunfire. It’s nearly three times as many as the number of US military deaths during the Vietnam War and over 17 times the number of US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Also guns kill twice as many American children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, said the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), USA remains a world leader in gun deaths of children and teens. Recent reports says that the US gun homicide rate for teens and young adults 15 to 24 was 42.7 times higher than the combined gun homicide rate for that same age group in the other countries.
The US has an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands, the equivalent of nine guns for every 10 people in America — the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Gun death rates in America are more than seven times higher than they are in the other high-income countries, reports CDF.
Gun violence is a regularly debated political issue in the United States, with firearms used for recreational purposes as well as for personal protection. High-profile mass shootings, including school shootings, have fueled debate over gun policies.
Gun rights advocates cite the use of firearms for self-protection, and to deter violent crime, as reasons why more guns can reduce crime. They also argue that it is the deadly intent of the people wielding the gun, not the weapons that results in deadly violence. Yet some research demonstrated that the presence of a gun intensifies a violent event and increases the likelihood that someone will die.
There are some gun regulations in the USA which impose restrictions on purchases by teenagers, convicted felons, and people with a history of severe mental illness but. They contain loopholes that limit their effectiveness though. For example, the Brady Act requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on all purchasers but exempts private sellers. It accounts for a large share of all gun sales, especially at gun shows. It is estimated that over 40 percent of all guns in the USA are sold by unlicensed sellers to buyers who did not have to submit to a background check and could be underaged.
Such organizations as CDF think that Congress has not pursued significant gun control legislation in nearly two decades. During that time period nearly 500,000 children and adults have been killed by guns.