Government statistics may miss a third of deadly accidental shootings involving children, according to a joint investigation from the AP and USA Today. The survey of news reports, public sources, and research data shows minors died from accidental shootings at a pace of one every other day during the first six months of this year, far more than limited federal statistics indicate. There were more than 1,000 accidental shootings involving children 17 and younger from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, resulting in the deaths of more than 320 minors and another 700 injuries. Three-year-olds are the most common shooters and victims among young children, though deaths and injuries spike for children under 5. The shootings most often happen at the children's homes, with handguns legally owned by adults for self-protection.
The CDC—which only tracks deaths officially classified as from accidental discharges of firearms on death certificates—reported 74 minors died from such cases in 2014, yet this latest analysis counted 113 for that year, suggesting the federal government missed a third of the cases. That's "a little bit shocking," says a gun safety advocate. Gun control advocates demand stricter laws requiring guns to be kept locked up and unloaded. But gun rights supporters argue those measures make guns less useful in emergencies; citing CDC statistics, the NRA argues such deaths have declined significantly in recent decades and that the chance of a child dying in a firearms accident is "one in one million." The full AP article shares specific cases of youngsters lost to these kinds of shootings. (Read more shootings stories.)