On 3rd Anniversary of Sandy Hook, a Sobering Stat
554 kids have died by gun: report
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 10:54 AM CST
In this photo from Friday, a sign welcomes people to the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn.   (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

(Newser) – Although it's the mass shootings in the US that we see most in the news, they're not what's causing the majority of gun deaths among our youngest citizens. Instead, it's what NBC News calls the "steady drumbeat of deaths in ones and twos" from suicides, homicides, and accidents that has led to a sobering figure: at least 554 kids under the age of 12 who've died from gun violence since the Sandy Hook school shooting three years ago—or about one death every other day. Using government data culled from the CDC and FBI, NBC found that the death rate for kids hasn't gone down since Sandy Hook (the risk may have even slightly risen), and it's been a tough fight for those lobbying for stricter gun safety laws at the federal level. Congress has balked at bills that would have bolstered nationwide gun safety laws, so gun safety advocates have taken it to the states instead: Per a 2014 Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research report, 15 states plus DC strengthened their gun laws in 2013.

And there are shared initiatives, with both gun control and gun rights groups in support of promoting gun safety for kids through educational programs, though both sides accuse the other's gun safety measures of containing hidden agendas. "[The NRA's] Eddie Eagle [program] is akin to Joe Camel, a way to get into schools and talk about guns," Shannon Watts, the founder of a Facebook page that eventually morphed into the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense group, tells NBC. But an NRA blog says Watts and her group are "more concerned with teaching grown-ups to badger other parents about whether they store guns in their house" than safety issues. Despite seemingly discouraging stats, Watts intends to keep forging ahead for gun safety. "I wouldn't wake up and spend 12 hours a day working on this if I didn't think we were winning [but] … I'm just so saddened by the lives we're going to lose in the meantime," she tells NBC. (Here's the heartbreaking story of what happened to a 10-year-old who accidentally killed his 8-year-old sister with a gun.)