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

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate