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Almost 1,300 Children Killed By Guns Each Year

Research has revealed that close to 1,300 children under the age of 17 years are killed by firearms in the U.S. each year and around 5,800 are injured.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that death rates increase as children get older, with those aged between 13 and 17 years 12 times more likely to die as a result of guns than kids under the age of 12, NBC News reported.

"Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among U.S. children aged 1 to 17 years, surpassing the number of deaths from pediatric congenital anomalies, heart disease, influenza and/or pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory disease and cerebrovascular causes," wrote the CDC's Catherine Fowler in the study.

The CDC researchers noted that their figure is likely an underestimation because not all gun-related deaths are properly reported.

Gun-related deaths were 10 times higher among black children than among white kids.

"They are the second leading cause of injury-related death in this age group, surpassed only by motor vehicle injury deaths," the study added.

Since 2007, there has been a 60 percent increase in gun-related suicides.

"Suicides are often impulsive in this age group, with previous findings indicating that many who attempt suicide spend 10 minutes or less deliberating," the study's authors noted.

The chief causes of suicides mentioned in the study were problems with relationships or at school and involvement with crime.

The researchers explained that 90 percent of children killed by guns around the world up to the age of 14 die in the U.S. Gun-related deaths in other developed countries among minors are rare.

The CDC research showed a lower number of child deaths resulting from gun violence compared to other investigations. The main reason for this is that other studies sometimes include victims up to the age of 21.

In one of the most recent fatal incidents, a 4-year-old boy from Chestnuthill Township, Pennsylvania, died following a self-inflicted gun shot wound June 18.

Bentley Koch shot himself in the face and was found inside his family's home.

"I never thought I would see the day I would get the news my only son has passed away," Bentley's mother wrote in a social media post, according to the Allentown Morning Call. "I don't know how to feel. I don't know what to do. I lost my everything."

It's not clear yet whether police will file charges against anyone in relation to Bentley's death.

In a similar case from Pennsylvania, a father pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for leaving a gun within the reach of his 2-year-old son. The son shot himself in the face with the gun, and died from his injuries. The father was sentenced to one year in prison.

Sources: NBC News, Allentown Morning Call / Photo credit: Pixabay

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