Six people were killed at a small, private Christian school just south of downtown Nashville after a former student opened fire inside the building on March 27.
Since the shooting, several people on social media, including former President Barack Obama, claimed that guns are now the leading cause of death among children in the United States.
VERIFY viewer Bonnie asked our team if those claims were true.
Is gun violence the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.?
Yes, gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.
WHAT WE FOUND
Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the United States, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks near real-time gun-related deaths and injuries across the country. The free online archive uses information collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media and government sources to compile their data daily.
In 2022, the Gun Violence Archive reported that 1,676 children were killed in gun-related deaths — the highest number the nonprofit has ever recorded. That number was an increase from the 1,573 child gun deaths it recorded in 2021.
Mark Bryant, co-founder and executive director of the group, confirmed gun violence contributed to more deaths in 2022 than the next two leading causes – car accidents and cancer.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also shows that gun-related deaths among children have increased in recent years. The agency's latest data is from 2020, when 2,500 kids, ages 17 and under, died from gun-related incidents. That's up from nearly 1,900 deaths in 2019.
According to CDC data, gun-related deaths outnumbered car crashes, the second leading cause of death, by 800 in 2020. The Gun Violence Archive’s numbers vary from the CDC’s because the agency includes suicides in its data, while the Gun Violence Archive does not.
An analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2022 also found that the top three leading causes of death among children were firearm-related injuries at number one, vehicle crashes at number two, and drug overdoses and poisonings at number three.
Bryant told VERIFY partner station KREM that a couple of factors have contributed to the increase in gun violence against children.
“There are more guns available. If you have more guns, you’re going to have more guns stolen. You’re going to have more guns that owners fail to properly stow... so they’re easier to steal,” Bryant said.
Click here to learn more about secure gun storage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.