Youth firearm fatality rates from assault are associated with social vulnerability


According to a study published online May 24 in i>JAMA Network Open/i>, states with stricter gun laws have lower rates of youth assault-related firearm deaths. However, youths from socially vulnerable communities are disproportionately affected across the spectrum of state gun laws.According to community-level socioeconomic vulnerability and state-level gun legislation, Eustina G. Kwon, M.D., M.P.H., from Seattle Children’s Hospital, and colleagues evaluated the rate of mortality from assault-related gunshot injury. All 5,813 assault-related firearm deaths involving U.S. juveniles (ages 10 to 19) that occurred between January 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, were identified using the Gun Violence Archive.nn

The researchers found that the death rate in the low social vulnerability index (SVI) cohort was 1.2 per 100,000 person-years versus 2.5 in the moderate SVI cohort, 5.2 in the high SVI cohort, and 13.3 in the very high SVI cohort. Comparing the very high to the low SVI cohort, the mortality rate ratio was 11.43. The stepwise increase in death rate with increasing SVI persisted, regardless of whether the Census tract was in a state with restrictive gun laws (0.83 in the low SVI cohort versus 10.11 in the very high SVI cohort), moderate gun laws (0.81 in the low SVI cohort versus 13.18 in the very high SVI cohort), or permissive gun laws (1.68 in the low SVI cohort versus 16.03 in the very high SVI death rate per 100,000 person-years was higher (moderate SVI: 3.37 versus 1.71; high SVI: 6.33 versus 3.78).n

“These findings suggest that firearm deaths among children and adolescents,” the authors write.

More information:
n Eustina G. Kwon et al, Association of Community Vulnerability and State Gun Laws With Firearm Deaths in Children and Adolescents Aged 10 to 19 Years, JAMA Network Open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.14863

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