Over 8,000 kids end up in the emergency room each year due to gun-related injuries, according to a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Monday. And that number doesn’t even include the victims who never made it to the hospital. It’s a statistic that has us all wondering: When will the gun violence end?
Lead researcher at Johns Hopkins University medical school, Dr. Faiz Gani, hopes that his team’s study is the first step to solving what has become an increasingly dangerous (and sadly, increasingly common) problem: “I don’t know what more we need to see in the world to be able to come together and tackle this problem.”
Using data from the Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality, the researchers found that over the span of the study, from 2006 to 2014, the number of ER visits increased the most during the last year, with the average age of the patient being 15 years old. Almost half of all visits were due to assaults and, interestingly enough, boys were about five times more likely than girls to be victims.
The study is the latest in a long list of findings that that reveal some pretty scary statistics about guns and kids (like this one, that showed only one-third of all gun-owning households have properly stored firearms).
It’s all proof of a larger conversation that needs to be had surrounding gun safety, says Dr. Denise Dowd, an ER physician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. “It’s really important that we have an idea of the magnitude of life lost and injured and how much money we are spending … so we can prioritize it as a national health concern.”