Fact Check: Joe Biden Says Guns Are Biggest Killer of American Children

President Joe Biden remains in a bind over reforms to gun laws in the U.S. in the aftermath of horrific mass shootings and other firearms deaths across the states.

In addition to the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children were killed, it was revealed that more children have been shot and killed in the U.S. than cops on duty.

The government recently signed into law background checks for buyers under 21 and measures to prevent domestic abusers from owning guns, marking the occasion at the White House.

Joe Biden Gun Control
U.S. President Joe Biden has claimed that guns cause more deaths among children than any other cause. His comments were made during a speech (pictured here) at the White House marking new gun laws. Biden was interrupted during his speech by family of one of the victims of the 2018 Parkland shooting in Florida. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden Administration lauded the move as a decisive step in the push toward stricter firearms laws, although some gun control advocates disagree.

Discussing the new law on Monday, July 11, 2022, Biden (who during his speech was heckled by the father of a teenager killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting) also made a number of stark claims about the dangers guns pose to children specifically.

The Claim

A Facebook post, published on the official Joe Biden Facebook page on July 11, 2022, includes a video of Biden in which he claims that guns are the leading cause of death among children.

During the video, the president claims gun deaths among children account for more loss of life than cancer or car accidents.

3.1 万 views, 4,737 likes, 761 loves, 3,314 comments, 547 shares, Facebook Watch Videos from President Joe Biden: When guns are the number one killer of America’s children – yes, you read that right –...

The Facts

The spate of mass shootings across the U.S. in 2022 has pushed the question of gun reform into the center of public discourse. The brutality of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has further framed the debate as a matter of child safety.

The sheer strength of feeling about gun control, on both sides of the argument, can also create a breeding ground for misinformation and misleading claims.

However, in the case of the president's claim, his argument holds up to scrutiny.

In May 2022, an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), stated that Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) mortality data in 2020, showed firearm-related injuries had become the leading cause of death among 1 to 19-year-olds.

The analysis, shared in an editorial in the NEJM, said these deaths had overtaken motor vehicle crashes, previously the leading cause.

It found that from 2019 to 2020 there was a 29.5 percent relative increase "in the rate of firearm-related deaths of all types (suicide, homicide, unintentional, and undetermined) among children and adolescents."

This increase was seen across most demographics and types of firearm related-deaths, as can be seen in this appendix paper.

A report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, which also examined this data, found that 4,357 children were killed by guns in 2020 and that homicides were the most common type of gun death, accounting for 64 percent of all child and gun deaths.

It stated "While teenagers account for the majority of these deaths, younger children are not immune. An average of eight children ages 0–12 were killed by guns every single week in 2020."

The highest increase in type of deaths was among homicides, which rose 39 percent from 2,023 in 2019 to 2,811 in 2020.

The Johns Hopkins report stated that it did not include infant deaths in its analysis because children under the age of one "are at a unique risk for age-specific causes of death, including perinatal period deaths and congenital anomalies."

Because infants are particularly susceptible to congenital abnormalities, including them in an analysis like this has the potential to create a misleading impression of what caused most child deaths across all ages.

However, even CDC data shows that the number of infants who died from congenital abnormalities (4,043) in 2020 was still lower than the number of firearms deaths among children aged 1-19.

Statistics for this year compiled by the Gun Violence Archive show that as of June 2022, 2,500 children and teenagers in the U.S. have been killed or injured by gunfire.

Nearly 1,800 children and teens have been injured by gunfire since the start of 2022, and 717 children and teens have been killed by gunfire in that time, according to the GVA.

The White House has been approached for comment.

The Ruling

Fact Check - True


Statistics from the CDC show that firearm deaths were the leading cause of death for children aged 1-19. Although that analysis does not count infants, firearm deaths would still be the leading cause of death among children if they were.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek's Fact Checking team