Gun violence against children is spiking, expert says

Crime

(NewsNation) — Gun violence recently surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 18 in the United States, the New York Times reported.

In 2021, school shootings soared to the highest number in two decades, with the National Center for Education Statistics reporting there were 93 campus shootings in the year. The CDC reported that nearly 3,600 children died by gunfire in the same year.

Jonathan Jay, an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, joined “Morning in America” to discuss the spike in gun violence against children and where it is most notably happening.

“Gun violence is spiking, most noticeably in the neighborhood. School shootings and mass shootings are an important part of this picture, but they don’t represent the majority of gun deaths among children,” Jay said.

He explained that while research is still evolving on this topic, child gun deaths are disproportionately concentrated in the neighborhoods that are most affected by segregation and disinvestment. He also blamed the pandemic for an additional range of stressors.

“We can see that there was almost a perfect storm of conditions to increase violence. Things like losses of jobs, deaths from COVID and highly visible police violence,” Jay said.

Possible solutions to decreasing gun violence include investments in the community, Jay said. Increasing mental health resources for children in the aftermath of shootings and community-based interventions, Jay said can help disrupt gun violence cycles.

“In the long term, this is going to be a lot about making the kinds of investments that make neighborhoods safe. So parks, community centers, high-quality schools and jobs,” Jay said.

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