Since Newtown, 127 Children Have Been Killed by Guns in Their Own Homes

The NRA says arming adults will make kids safer. Our investigation shows why that’s dead wrong.


In testimony given a few weeks after the mass shooting in Newtown, gun rights lobbyist Gayle Trotter emphasized to US senators that the best way for women to keep themselves and their children safe was to be armed. “An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon,” she said.

In terms of danger to children, Trotter couldn’t have been more wrong. According to our latest investigation, in the past year at least 194 kids ages 12 and under were killed by guns, in towns and cities across 43 states. And the vast majority of them were killed in homes—127 in their own, and another 30 in the homes of relatives, friends, or neighbors.

In 39 cases, children were shot intentionally in their own homes by their parents or adult guardians, accounting for more than a third of the 103 total homicides. And out of 84 total accidental shooting deaths, at least 49 involved kids handling a firearm left unsecured inside a home.

Moreover, when it comes to the accidental gun deaths of children, adults are rarely held criminally responsible. In 72 cases in which a child or teen pulled the trigger, killing themselves or other kids, we found only 4 cases in which an adult was convicted. (Charges may still be pending in some cases.) In part that may be because only 14 states and the District of Columbia have strong negligence laws with respect to children and firearms.

For more details, read the full story here. I also discussed the investigation on NPR’s All Things Considered, and you can listen here.

One pediatrician I spoke with for this story noted that “Newtown concentrated the horror in one place.” But as the nation once again grieves the victims of that terrible day, it’s also important to remember these 194 kids, victims of the everyday toll. Their average age was 6. You can see more about them in this gallery:

child gun deaths gallery

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THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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