CDC study shows alarming rise in gun violence

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The CDC released a troubling study released Tuesday, showing an alarming rise in gun deaths in the United States.

The study concluded that gun-related deaths increased by 35% in 2020 from 2019. We haven’t seen these rates in 25 years. Gun violence is impacting rural and urban areas and is now the leading cause of death in children.

“We’ve now seen firearm deaths surpass motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death in children ages one to 19,” Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Surgeon Christopher Blewett said. He’s seen the trauma from gun violence firsthand.

“I was shocked, but I probably shouldn’t have been,” Blewett said. “I relocated from Jackson, Mississippi in August of this past year to take the full-time position here at Cardinal Glennon and the amount of penetrating trauma that I’ve dealt with since that move has been pretty astounding.”

Blewett says 2020 was a perfect storm: kids were at home, not at a safe place like school because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic had an impact.

“People are out of work, people stressed out about different matters, particularly financial and job-related and I think it just created a whole storm,” Blewett said.

A closer look at the CDC report shows gun violence impacts everybody, but the highest rates of homicides are among young Black men and young Black children. Low-income communities are impacted the most.

Blewett says more people than ever have guns in their homes.

“How about we focus our energy on things like gun safety, as a real specific, gun locks,” Blewett said. “That is something that Glennon has been very active in.”

Cardinal Glennon gave out 1,000 gun locks last year.

“I think it probably starts with the focus on safety rather than removing guns,” Blewett said.

While the homicide and overall gun violence statistics from 2020 are troubling, Blewett said what they’re now seeing proves the problem wasn’t just pandemic-related.

“It is still getting worse. We’re looking at our data just through the first part of this calendar year and we’re actually running about 30 percent ahead of where we were in 2020 for gun violence and admissions due to that.”

Gun locks are available for free at local fire and police stations as well as some public libraries.