IOWA CITY, Iowa – Government statistics significantly understate the number of children in the U.S. who were killed by unintentional gun discharges last year.
The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network found 141 deaths of minors were attributed to unintentional or accidental shootings in 2015. That’s 83 per cent higher than the 77 deaths that the Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday.
Advocates for stricter laws and new technology meant to keep guns away from children argue that the deaths are largely preventable. They say the undercount is significant because it informs the policy debate.
CDC officials say their statistics are low because they rely on death certificates. Some coroners list deaths in which one child unintentionally shoots another as homicides. The AP and USA TODAY Network relied on determinations made by investigating agencies.