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CDC: Guns Kill 8 Kids, Teens Every Day

June 11, 2008

Boston, MA - More American kids are dying from gun violence. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show child and teen gun deaths went up in 2005 for the first time since 1994. Of the more than 3,000 deaths, 27 were here in Massachusetts.

John Rosenthal is the founder of Stop Hand Gun Violence, which put up an anti-gun-violence billboard on the Mass Pike outside of Fenway Park. He is also a gun owner and notes that, while Massachusetts has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, our neighbors don't.

"We're surrounded by states that don't even require IDs or background checks, and as a result, we are seeing an increase in Massachusetts, just like we're seeing an increase across the country, of largely-preventable gun deaths, accidents and injuries from kids accessing guns."

Rosenthal says people who wouldn't pass a background check can legally buy guns from an individual or at a gun show in 32 states. He'd like to see federal laws that require background checks everywhere, allow authorities to share gun data, and enforce protection standards that would ban such things as guns made to avoid detection by metal detectors.

Susan Gates with the Children's Defense Fund, which published the report based on the CDC data, notes it may not be coincidence that gun deaths went up the year after Congress let the assault weapons ban expire.

"What we do know is that when gun laws are in effect, gun safety mechanisms, deaths and accidents among children and teens goes down dramatically."

Gates adds some ways to prevent the violence include taking guns out of the home and raising awareness in the community about gun violence.

The National Rifle Association argues that the Second Amendment allows people to own guns, and claims that many times background checks lead to cases of mistaken identity.

The report "Protect Children, Not Guns" is at www.childrensdefense.org.

Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA