Unlike the rise and fall and rise of violent crime, which follows a logic that researchers can find elusive, shootings by children are relatively easy to understand and even predict. They would also be far easier to prevent — if only adults would stop making guns so readily available.
The costs of that failure are adding up. Last year was a banner year in firearm deaths among children. If you follow groups such as the Gun Violence Archive or social media accounts such as Well Regulated Militia, you can track the carnage daily. More than 1,500 children under 18 were killed by firearms in 2021. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, there were 342 unintentional shootings by children last year. The result, 141 deaths and 219 injuries, was slightly less than in 2020 (369 unintentional shootings) but more than in 2019 (308).