RELEASE: The Devastating Impact of Gun Violence on America’s Youth

Washington, D.C. — Gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic, and it’s having a uniquely disproportionate impact on America’s youth. Today, the Center for American Progress and Generation Progress released a joint report detailing the intersectional crisis of youth gun violence in this country—particularly for youth of color. But young people are more than just victims of gun violence; they are among the leading voices calling for change to our nation’s weak gun laws and deadly gun culture. This report includes the voices and stories of many of those young leaders as well as state-by-state data breaking down gun homicides, suicides, and domestic violence homicides. 

As the National Rifle Association convenes its annual meeting under the pall of three of America’s deadliest mass shootings in modern history, this report discusses how young people are on the front lines, rising to build an intersectional movement to affect comprehensive change.

“Every day in America, 17 young people are murdered with a gun,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress and co-author of the report. “The stories and experiences of gun violence are all too familiar to young Americans. Gun violence is shattering an entire generation, and policymakers must heed the young leaders risking their lives to make change.”

Among the topline findings of the report:

  • Young people ages 15-29 account for 31 percent of all gun deaths in the country and nearly 50 percent of all gun murder victims.
  • Gun violence disproportionately impacts young people of color: African Americans between the ages of 15 and 29 are 18 times more likely to be the victim of a gun murder than their white peers.
  • Gun violence recently surpassed car accidents as a leading killer of young people.
  • Approximately 31 percent of individuals who were fatally shot by police from January 2015 to April 2018 were between the ages of 18 and 29.
  • Young women are more at risk for fatal domestic violence: From 2006 to 2015, the rate of domestic violence gun homicides for young women between the ages of 15 and 29 was 30 percent higher than for women of all ages.

“It’s well past time to recognize gun violence as an urgent problem affecting America’s youth,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president for Gun Violence Prevention at the Center for American Progress and a co-author of the report. “Any comprehensive solutions to gun violence must also recognize the inherent intersectionality of the issue and must work in tandem with efforts to reform the criminal justice system, improve police-community relations, and reinvest in affected communities. Rightfully, young leaders understand the many faces of gun violence and are taking such policies into account.”

The Center for American Progress recently released six policy recommendations to reduce national gun violence, and this report offers four additional policy solutions tailored specifically for youth gun violence. Those include:

  • Investing in youth jobs programs
  • Reinvesting in high-quality education programs in areas suffering from gun violence
  • Implementing trauma-informed education programs
  • Enacting smart-on-crime approaches to local criminal justice efforts

Click here to read the report, “America’s Youth Under Fire.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Kyle Epstein at kepstein@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8137.