Loading articles...

New CDC data understate accidental shooting deaths of kids

FILE - In this July 20, 2012, file photo, a row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop in Aurora, Colo. The right to bear arms is fundamental to the U.S., carved into the Constitution and seemingly embedded in the national DNA. But after a seemingly endless stretch of violence, Americans are confronting how far those rights extend, propelling gun issues to the forefront of this year's elections. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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.