Child gun-related deaths increased 29% in 2004. A total of 41 children died from gun-related injuries in 2004, up from 29 deaths in 2003. Homicide accounted for 54% of the deaths; 32% were the result of suicide; 10% were the result of accidents; and 5% were the result of undetermined intent.
An even larger number of children were severely injured by guns, but survived. In 2004, 78 children were hospitalized due to gun-related injuries. Sixty-four percent of the injuries were the result of assaults; 32% were the result of accidents; 3% were the result of self-inflicted injuries; and 1% were the result of undetermined intent.
Another 103 children required emergency room visits because of gun-related injuries, but survived. In contrast to children with severe gunshot injuries, accidents accounted for 53% of the ER visits; 38% were the result of assault-related injuries; 5% were the result of undetermined intent; 2% were the result of self-inflicted injuries; and 2% were the result of legal intervention.
More children died from gunshot injuries (41) than from pool drownings (31) in 2004.
The majority of children who died from gunshot injuries in 2004 were teens 15-17. A total of 29 gun-related deaths involved children 15-17; 9 involved children 10-14; 2 involved children 5-9; and 1 involved a child 1-4. The Arizona Child Fatality Review Team cites “access to firearms” as a preventable factor in most of these child deaths – particularly for deaths involving teens.
According to the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 7% of 9th through 12th grade students in Arizona carried a gun in the 30 days preceding the survey.
Over a quarter of all youth responding to the Arizona Youth Survey in 2004 said it would be easy to obtain a gun. Many youth who reported carrying guns also reported feeling unsafe in their neighborhoods, selling drugs, and frequently being threatened with weapons.