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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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