Homicides more common in childhood gun deaths in California than rest of nation, data show

Homicides are more common in childhood gun deaths in California than in the rest of the U.S., according to new data published by Everytown, a nonprofit that advocates for reducing gun violence.

About 76 percent of gun deaths among children and teenagers in California are homicides, compared to 58 percent nationally, according to the data, published Thursday. An average of 246 children and teens die from guns in California each year, according to the data.

Everytown, which advocates for stronger background checks, red flag laws and other gun control measures, included the stat in an overview of gun violence in California. The group posted similar data for every state on a new website and database titled EveryStat.

In some ways, the report showed California bucked a national trend of rising gun violence. Gun deaths dropped 8 percent in California from 2008 to 2017, compared to a 17 percent increase nationally.

And the report showed California’s rate of gun deaths, 7.7 per 100,000 people, is the sixth-lowest in the nation.

“It’s encouraging that overall, gun violence is decreasing in California while it increases in the rest of the country,” Sarah Burd-Sharps, the group’s director of research, said in an emailed statement. “However, the disproportionate impact of gun homicide on black Californians underscores the continued importance of the California Violence Intervention Program, which supports community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to address gun violence in California’s hardest-hit neighborhoods.”

Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in both California and the US, trailing motor vehicle traffic, according to the report.

Among the group’s other California findings:

Black children and teens are seven times as likely as white children to die by a gun.

White people are three times more likely than black people to kill themselves with a gun in California, while black people are 10 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide.

From 2013 to 2017, 289 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in California.

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Wes Venteicher anchors The Bee’s popular State Worker coverage in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. He covers taxes, pensions, unions, state spending and California government. A Montana native, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.