Kids in the Line of Fire
Children, Handguns, and Homicide
For the five-year period of 1995 through 1999, 169 children aged 1 to 17 years were the victims of handgun homicide in Pennsylvania. Of these children, 21.7 percent were murdered by another child with a handgun, where the ages were known (28 out of 129 incidents).
Child handgun homicide victims whose race was identified (169 victims) included: 49 white victims, 114 black victims, and 6 Asian victims. Unfortunately, Hispanic ethnicity could not be determined because of the inadequacy of data collection and reporting.
Where the relationship was known, 11.9 percent of child victims were killed by a family member with a handgun (14 out of 118). Of these victims, 71.4 percent were children murdered by a parent. None of the children were murdered by a stepparent. Overall, another 32.2 percent were killed by strangers (38 victims) and 8.5 percent were killed by a friend or romantic partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, or homosexual partner) (10 victims). The largest percentage of child victims, 47.5 percent, were killed by an acquaintance (56 victims).
For homicides in which the weapon could be identified, 68.1 percent of child victims (188 out of 276) were shot and killed with a gun. Of those, 89.9 percent (169 victims) were killed with a handgun. For homicides where both the victim and the shooter were children, 76.2 percent of incidents involved a firearm (32 out of 42), with 87.5 percent of those involving a handgun (28 victims).
From 1995 to 1999, there were 133 incidents in which the circumstance of the handgun homicide of the child victim could be identified. Of these, 74.4 percent were not related to the commission of any other felony.
Where the number of victims and offenders was known, 72.9 percent of incidents involved one victim and one offender (102 incidents), 20.7 percent of the homicides involved one victim and multiple offenders (29 incidents), 5.0 percent involved multiple victims and one offender (7 incidents), and 1.4 percent involved multiple victims and multiple offenders (2 incidents).
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All contents � 2001 Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.