Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Gun Violence Has a Devastating Impact on Young Americans, New CAP Analysis Finds
Press Release

RELEASE: Gun Violence Has a Devastating Impact on Young Americans, New CAP Analysis Finds

Washington, D.C. — As young people prepare for nationwide protests calling for commonsense gun violence prevention laws, a new Center for American Progress analysis examines the devastating impact that the rise in gun violence—the primary driver of increasing crime nationwide—is having on young people.

Drawing primarily from data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CAP found that firearms are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 17, and young people suffer nonfatal gunshot injuries, gunshot threats, school shootings, and the loss of parents due to firearm-related violence at an alarming frequency. The recent shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two adults dead, is the just latest example of how the United States’ lax gun laws are increasingly causing senseless violence and lifelong trauma among the next generation of Americans. Recent analysis from the Center for American Progress showed that states with weak gun laws actually have higher rates of violent crime and homicides. Yet as the data make clearer by the day, the country’s gun violence epidemic exacts a daily toll on communities—and it’s time for lawmakers to respond to young people’s calls for change.

“No parent should have to worry about the risk of gun violence when they drop their child off at school or spend time in their communities,” said Eugenio Weigend Vargas, director of Gun Violence Prevention and co-author of the fact sheet. “Young people are demanding that their elected officials act to stop gun violence; and it is past time for lawmakers to listen, rather than prioritize counterproductive policies that endanger children and teenagers.”

Notably, the authors found:

  • While gun homicides rose 35 percent from 2019 to 2020, they rose 37 percent for young people ages 18 to 24 and 48 percent for children and teenagers ages 1 to 17.
  • Since the 1999 shooting at Columbine, 311,000 students have experienced gun violence at 311 schools, resulting in the deaths of at least 185 children and educators and another 369 injured by nonfatal gun wounds.
  • While Americans ages 18 to 24 represent 9 percent of the U.S. population, they suffered 26 percent of gun homicides during 2020.
  • The United States has a gun homicide rate among young people ages 15 to 24 that is 49 times higher than that of other developed nations.

Click here to read: “Gun Violence Is Having a Devastating Impact on Young Americans” by Eugenio Weigend Vargas and Allison Jordan

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Tricia Woodcome at twoodcome@americanprogress.org.