FACT CHECK: Do 2,900 Children Die From Gun Violence Every Year?
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg aired a Super Bowl ad that at one point said, “2,900 children die from gun violence every year.”
100 Americans die from gun violence every single day.
— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) January 30, 2020
The statistic includes the deaths of 18- and 19-year-olds who are legally considered adults in most U.S. states. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2013 to 2017, the time period used by the Bloomberg campaign, show there was an average of 1,499 gun deaths per year among children between the ages of 0 and 17.
Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, has so far spent more than $140 million on TV and digital advertising for his presidential bid, according to The Wall Street Journal. His campaign reportedly paid $10 million to air a 60-second advertisement during the Feb. 2 Super Bowl match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
The ad features Calandrian Kemp discussing the death of her son, George Kemp Jr., who was shot and killed outside of Houston in 2013 at age 20. She praises Bloomberg for his efforts to implement more stringent gun control laws.
At one point, the ad shows a graphic saying, “2,900 children die from gun violence every year.” That figure, however, is misleading. (RELATED: Did Michael Bloomberg Say Trump is ‘Known Among Other Millionaires As A Con-Artist’?)
The statistic appears to come from a 2019 report by Everytown for Gun Safety, a Bloomberg-affiliated gun control nonprofit. It uses CDC data between the years of 2013 and 2017. But as the report clearly states in a June 2019 fact sheet, the figure includes 18- and 19-year-olds legally considered adults in most states, not just those considered children under the law.
When looking at the same CDC data for children ages zero through 17, the number of deaths by firearm (intentional and unintentional) drops to 1,499 per year. That figure is roughly 48% lower than the 2,900 deaths in Bloomberg’s ad.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Gifford’s Law Center, both nonprofits that advocate for gun control, reported roughly 1,500 children killed by gun violence per year for the same time period.
It’s important to note that both the CDC and Bloomberg campaign’s numbers include suicides, police shootings, accidental shootings and shootings that have an undetermined intent. These instances may or may not be counted depending upon which definition of gun violence is used.
Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the Bloomberg campaign, explained the campaign’s decision to include young people legally considered adults in the Super Bowl ad’s figure in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation:
“Ask any grieving parent whose 18- or 19-year-old son or daughter was shot and killed, and they will tell you they lost a child,” Wood said. “There are simply too many of these deaths, and Mike has a plan to prevent them with common-sense gun safety laws.”
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