Some 72 children have been killed or injured by gun violence this year so far, reports NPR. This past week saw the deaths of Grayson Matthew Fleming-Gray, a six-month-old killed in a drive-by shooting in Atlanta, and Grace Elliot, 10-years-old allegedly killed by her father in Somerville, Oh., in a murder-suicide. The previous weekend was marked by the death of Melissa Ortega, an eight-year-old hit with a stray bullet while walking with her mother in Chicago.
The Gun Violence Archive says there have been children killed or injured by gunfire in the two pandemic years than in 2019, and the trend is increasing. It counted 695 in 2019, 999 in 2020 and 1,055 in 2021. A study by the American Association of Pediatrics examined trends that could explain the uptick in violence. It found that an increase in gun sales tracks with areas with more violence, although an author, Dr. Katie Donnelly, warns that it may not have a direct cause-and-effect relationship. The study points out that more children at home, where abuse can not be detected as easily, may also be a factor. Police say that increased gang violence plays a role. Dr. Garen Wintemute of the University of California notes that the trend may not be limited to children and that gun violence and suicides are increasing for other age groups.