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Report: Stray Bullets and Other Gunfire Killing 8 Kids a Day

June 11, 2008

New York, NY — Firearms claim the lives of eight children each day in the U.S. That's a fact that was brought home when a 10-year-old New York girl was recently killed by a stray bullet. A new study from the Children's Defense Fund says that 3,000 children die each year and little is being done to protect them. The study is based on data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dealing with the year 2005, which it said showed the first increase in such deaths since 1994.

Christine Deyss with Prevent Child Abuse New York says sometimes it takes tragedies like the Albany girl who was killed by a stray gang bullet to focus attention on the problem.

"This was a very public death -- a child on the street, who was a very young child and an immigrant -- so people are beginning to come together and say, we really have to figure out how to stop this."

The study found 93 children died from gunfire in New York in 2005, up slightly from 89 gun deaths the year before. New York recorded fewer child gun deaths than a number of other states, and Deyss says that's because lawmakers in Albany have started to deal with the issue. She adds it's time for the feds to catch up, but gun rights groups are wary of new gun laws, concerned they could conflict with constitutional rights.

Ladd Everitt with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence says that guns are one of the only consumer items around with absolutely no federal oversight when it comes to quality and safety. He says that's one reason kids are dying by the thousands each year in this country from gun violence.

"There's a lot of room for improvement in terms of the way we manufacture guns, in order to make them tamper resistant to children."

Everitt argues the federal action is needed to close legal loopholes that potentially allow teenagers who are under the legal age to purchase firearms through gun shows or classified ads.

The CDF study looked at gun deaths from 2003-2005. It's online at

Michael Clifford/Steve Powers, Public News Service - NY