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More kids killed by guns in US in single year than total Iraq war casualties

Published: Tuesday June 13, 2006

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A report released today by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF,) and based upon data collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finds that more children and teens died as a result of gun violence in 2003 than American fighting men and women killed in hostile action in the first three years of the Iraq war combined.

In all, 2,827 kids and teens were killed in the United States during the calendar year that marked the US invasion of Iraq. At last count, the Department of Defense reports 2,497 US soldiers killed in Iraq.

In addition to that gruesome statistic, other facts detailed in the report about gun violence and America's children:

-- The rate of firearm deaths among children under age 15 is far higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. "We have many more handguns and much weaker gun laws than any other country," says Harvard Professor David Hemenway, who has worked to develop strategies to combat illegal firearms.

-- In 2003, 56 preschoolers were killed by firearms, compared to 52 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

-- More 10- to 19-year-olds die from gunshot wounds than from any other cause except motor vehicle accidents.

-- Almost 90 percent of the children and teens killed by firearms in 2003 were boys.

-- Boys ages 15 to 19 are nearly nine times as likely as girls of the same age to be killed by a firearm.

-- In 2003, there were more than nine times as many suicides by guns among white children and teens as among black children and teens.

-- The firearm death rate for black males ages 15 to 19 is more than four times that of white males the same age.

-- The seven states that recorded the most deaths among children and teens by firearms in 2003 were California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. The state with the fewest child gun deaths was Hawaii with one.

The full report can be read at the Children's Defense Fund website.