A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics says that about 7,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms every year from gun injuries (about 20 kids a day) and another 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds in the US.
Of the 7,000 injuries, 4,559 were assaults, 2,149 were accidents and 270 were suicide attempts, according to the study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
The study was based on the 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), which tracks pediatric hospital patients.
“This study reinforces what we know from the mortality data,” Daniel Webster, the study’s lead author and a professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, told NBC News. “We have an extraordinary health burden in our youth associated with firearms injuries.”
“This is a very unique and abnormal problem that such a wealthy nation should have such high mortality and morbidity in youth related to firearms,” added Webster.
Webster says the US should raise the legal age to buy a gun to 21 as there is a high amount of gun violence between the ages of 18 and 20.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), guns are one of the top three causes of death among children in the US.
"Every child who dies due to gun violence is someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister," AAP President Dr. Thomas K. McInerny said in a press release in 2013. "It is a tragedy that is repeated over and over again."
"The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook school in Newtown woke up the nation and invigorated us to continue to address that issue even more strongly," added Dr. McInerny. "Pediatricians remain undeterred in their efforts to protect children from gun violence and we will continue to work hard on this until we make progress. We urge you to join us."