Firearm Violence

Firearm Violence and Children 

Firearm violence is a public health issue. It occurs for many reasons – anger, fear, despair, impulsivity, revenge, intimate partner violence, crime. In 2020, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens aged 1-19 (read full study here).

The Toll of Firearm Violence on Children in the U.S.

Children are experiencing firearm injuries and death at an unacceptable rate. Firearms injuries also cause long-term physical and mental health consequences.


What Pediatricians Can Do

Firearm Anticipatory Guidance and Education

There are things that pediatricians can do during visits with children and families to help address gun violence. The AAP outlines some of these:

  • Ask if there are guns in the home.
  • Provide anticipatory guidance: Normalize and personalize conversations regarding safer firearm storage, including “smart” gun safety technology, or removal of firearms from the home.
  • Perform age-appropriate, evidence-based mental health screening for depression and suicide risk to identify youth at risk for self-harm or for harming others.
  • Talk to families with toddlers and older children about the prevention of an unintentional shooting event. Talk to families with adolescents and young adults about suicide prevention and acknowledge teenagers who do not have a known history of depression or suicidal ideation can also attempt suicide.
  • Make sure your clinic is a place where firearms are restricted.
  • Encourage families to ask about firearms where their children play.

Read More

Take Action and Advocate

Pediatricians can be a strong voice for policies that support gun violence prevention, gun safety and safe storage, and more. Make your voice heard and actively support gun violence prevention. The AAP has put together resources on advocacy around:

  • Hospital and Community-level Interventions
  • Consumer Product Regulations
  • Safe Storage
  • Gun Violence & Communities of Color
  • Federal Gun Violence Prevention Research
  • Contacting Congress
  • Media Advocacy Tools
  • Gun Safety Campaign Toolkit and Other
    Social Media Tools
  • Join the Firearm Injury Prevention Special Interest Group

Read More About AAP's  Gun Violence Prevention Advocacy Toolkit

AAP Firearm Injury Prevention Group 


What is


in Illinois

Laws and Groups Working on Gun Safety

Some important laws exist in Illinois to restrict access to illegal guns and support evidence-based methods for reducing gun violence, but there is work to be done.

One Aim Illinois, in partnership with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, has a fact sheet on the current gun laws in Illinois that can be read here.

Read More on Illinois Gun Laws


Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in America.

Read Everytown's Illinois Fact Sheet


Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. Moms Demand Action works in communities throughout the country and has a chapter in every state.

Read About How to Get Involved

When a Shooting Has Occurred

Each week we learn of multiple victims of gun violence in Illinois – many are children and teens. An infant riding in their car seat, a school aged child at a birthday party, a teenager at a park with friends. Illinois pediatricians will be called on to offer support to the victims and their families impacted after a shooting, immediately and for the weeks, months, and even years ahead.

Victims who are physically injured and those children who were bystanders to a shooting will need support. Fellow healthcare providers helping victims and their families may also be in need of support.

Resources for You and Families