Gun violence continues to be a public health problem among children. In a recent study published in Pediatrics, the impact of gun exposure among children ages 2 to 17 was measured, and the stats are sobering. It found that 1 in 4 children has been exposed to violence involving a weapon, either as a witness or, sadly, as a victim. And 1 in 33 children has been directly assaulted in incidents involving guns or knives.
Children exposed to violence involving a weapon had higher rates of trauma symptoms, peer weapon carrying, and personal weapon carrying. Exposure to violence involving highly lethal weapons is associated with higher trauma symptoms, over and above exposure to all other types of violence.
Children’s exposure to gun violence can lead to mental health problems, such as as depression, anxiety and aggression. And parents who own firearms are urged to keep them locked up safely and out of reach of children, since homicide by firearms ranks as one of the top 10 leading causes of injury-related death for children starting at age 1.