TABLE 2

Circumstances and Other Characteristics of Fatal Firearm Injuries Among Children: NVRS, 17 States, 2003–2013

Firearm HomicideFirearm SuicideUnintentional Firearm Deaths
Aged 0–12Aged 13–17Aged 10–17aAged 0–12Aged 13–17
N = 373N = 1588N = 1207N = 177N = 168
Circumstancesn = 286n = 1114Circumstancesn = 1053Circumstancesn = 146n = 155
 Argument98 (34%)446 (40%) Life stressors Playing with gun87 (60%)76 (49%)
 Intimate-partner violence relatedb90 (31%)89 (8%)  Crisis in the past or upcoming 2 wks440 (42%) Unintentionally pulled trigger36 (25%)33 (21%)
 Precipitated by another crime79 (28%)342 (31%)  Other relationship problem (eg, friend)322 (31%) Other context of injury29 (21%)36 (23%)
 Victim was a bystanderb42 (15%)79 (7%)  Intimate partner problem283 (27%) Thought unloaded or safety engagedb24 (16%)53 (34%)
 Gang-relatedb13 (5%)234 (21%)  School problem260 (25%) Hunting or target shooting20 (14%)26 (17%)
 Drive-by shooting18 (6%)102 (9%)  Family relationship problemc145 (14%) Gun mistaken for a toyd24 (16%)1 (1%)
 Crisis in past or upcoming 2 wksb20 (7%)18 (2%)  Recent criminal or civil legal problem109 (10%) Dropped gun11 (8%)6 (4%)
 Drug involvementb15 (5%)141 (13%)  Argumentc97 (9%) Loading or unloading the gun8 (5%)14 (9%)
 Family relationship problemb16 (6%)16 (1%)  Nonsuicide death of friend or family member67 (6%) Showing gun to othersb6 (4%)43 (28%)
 Random violence9 (3%)26 (2%)  Suicide of friend or family member38 (4%) Cleaning gund9 (6%)4 (3%)
 Victim used a weapond2 (1%)69 (6%) Mental health or substance use Defect or malfunctiond3 (2%)8 (5%)
 Jealousy or love triangle6 (2%)22 (2%)  Current depressed mood361 (34%)
 Victim was an intervener assisting a crime victimd0 (0%)7 (1%)  Current diagnosed mental health problem274 (26%)
  Current mental health treatment192 (18%)
  Alcohol or other substance abuse problem172 (16%)
  Drugs and/or alcohol present in system119 (11%)
Incident characteristicsn = 373n = 1588Suicide eventn = 1053Shooteren = 151n = 152
 Involved multiple victims174 (47%)209 (13%) Left a suicide note404 (38%) Self66 (44%)44 (29%)
 Homicide followed by suicide158 (42%)92 (6%) Disclosed intent to commit suicide279 (26%) Other85 (56%)108 (71%)
 Previous history of suicide attempts103 (10%)
Primary suspect’s age, yn = 291n = 861Shooter’s age, y (if “other”)n = 79n = 90
 <13 12 (4%)5 (<1%) <13 43 (54%)12 (13%)
 13–17 26 (9%)218 (25%) 13–17 16 (20%)56 (62%)
 18–24 52 (18%)410 (48%) 18–24 5 (6%)17 (19%)
 25–34 82 (28%)102 (12%) 25–34 8 (10%)1 (1%)
 35–44 86 (30%)64 (7%) 35–44 3 (4%)0
 45–55 29 (10%)40 (5%) 45–54 2 (3%)1 (1%)
 55 4 (1%)22 (3%) 55+2 (3%)1 (1%)
Locationn = 367n = 1569Locationn = 1192Locationn = 173n = 162
 House or apartment313 (85%)614 (39%) House or apartment1022 (86%) House or apartment145 (84%)127 (78%)
 Street, road, sidewalk, or alley14 (4%)593 (38%) Street, road, sidewalk, alley25 (2%) Street, road, sidewalk, or alley1 (1%)4 (2%)
 Motor vehicle11 (3%)69 (4%) Motor vehicle22 (2%) Motor vehicle4 (2%)3 (2%)
 Other public location23 (6%)235 (15%) Natural area or countryside56 (5%) Natural area or countryside17 (10%)21 (13%)
 School (K-12th grade)08 (1%) School (K-12th grade)5 (<1%) School (K-12th grade)00
 Other6 (2%)50 (3%) Other61 (5%) Other6 (3%)7 (4%)
Type of gun involvedn = 295n = 1032Type of gun involvedn = 1117Type of gun involvedn = 150n = 145
 Handgun221 (75%)881 (85%) Handgun674 (60%) Handgun88 (59%)82 (57%)
 Rifle or shotgun74 (25%)151 (15%) Rifle or shotgun443 (40%) Rifle or shotgun62 (41%)63 (43%)
  • a Suicide deaths included only for decedents aged 10 to 17 years. N = 2 deaths classified as suicides that occurred across all years occurred among children under 10.

  • b χ2 test result significant at P ≤ .05.

  • c “Argument” and “Family relationship problem” were only available as NVDRS suicide circumstances starting in 2009; taking into account only the data years for which it was available, Argument was present in 15% of cases and Family relationship problem in 23% of cases.

  • d χ2 tests could not be calculated because 1 or more expected cell sizes n < 5.

  • e Number of cases for which this information was known.