In a recent paper calling to add even more regulations to legal gun owners, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote "Each day, 28 U.S. children and teens -- the equivalent of a high school classroom -- die from gun violence, making it the No. 1 killer of youth through age 24."

How did they get their number, and why are they claiming a 24-year-old is a child? (1)

The actual number of kids who died due to accidents, the kind of thing AAP suggests government regulation will prevent, is...9. Government doesn't do anything to prevent crime against kids with over 20,000 laws regulating guns in existence now (2) so how they'd prevent accidents is a mystery.

 The problem with gun deaths is that everyone can use them across multiple arenas. A criminal who dies in a shootout with cops is gun violence, a gun death, and a police killing. It is one person engaged in a criminal act yet counts as three separate gun statistics.  In this case, the AAP is suggesting any 23-year-old who dies engaged in crime is a helpless victim.  We know that isn't true. In reality, 18-24 years of age is the sweet spot for violent crime, yet the AAP article is classifying them as victims.

In actual children, violence, not suicide or anything else preventable, it is so low that no regulation can help - except a total ban. Which may be the goal, using 'if we can save even one child' fallacies.

Drowning causes 10,000% more child deaths and yet no pediatrician is arguing that we need to amend the Constitution, or worse, simply violate it, by banning swimming. In some states, pools have requirements for protection, and all of them have building standards, but those are nowhere near as stringent as gun regulations. You don't need to pass a federal background check to go into a municipal pool.(3)

The top perpetrator in gun accidents is an older brother. Even the 1970s Supreme Court would not have been so loose with the Constitution as to find it can regulate being an older brother. Lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a huge increase in shootings but it is difficult to claim coronavirus needs more regulations than it got.(4)

The Bill of Rights also does not cover cars so the AAP effort to create more gun regulations uses logic based on something invented over 100 years later - the automobile. On the exterior it makes some sense, you can't drive a car without a license, but every state government speaks plainly that a license is a privilege. California, as you might expect, was first to figure out a way to get more fees out of the public by requiring a license, in 1913. The last state to ride that money train didn't do so until 1959.

Hunting is also a privilege, and young people are required to take a class, while everyone is required to buy a license.

That's the thing, enumerated powers are built right into the 9th Amendment. Owning a gun is in the Constitution, but hunting and driving is not, so states can create a license for that but they cannot force you to get a license to exercise your First Amendment rights. Or Second. Or Fifth.

The Bill of Rights does not cover data dredging or manipulation of statistics, neither existed when it was written, but it does protect gun ownership. A new country whose first act of rebellion was preventing the government from seizing their weapons was sensitive to government doing it again and despite 90 years of culture war about it, no one has gotten support for a Constitutional amendment to change that, or freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, or anything else in the Bill of Rights.

Guns are already heavily regulated but laws are a leaky bucket, just like government itself. There is no possibility for a Zero Defect outcome in either, but piling more inefficiencies on top of existing ones to penalize people who are not outside the bucket isn't going to save lives.

And if the lives are children were as important as AAP wants us to believe they think they are, they'd ask for regulations to cap automobile speed limits to 5 miles per hour. That would save 8,337 "youth" ages 24 and under. Far more than ways to end-run the Constitution on guns.  Yet 'if we can save even one child' reasoning doesn't get invoked about cars, the thing most pediatricians own.


(1) We can't answer why the 24 age, perhaps in the modern health care climate, where a person is considered a child on their parents' health insurance until age 26, 24 is still a kid, but the more likely reason is that they didn't have enough breezy analogies - a classroom per day! - when they used actual children. So they defined adolescence up to 25.

(2) It is actually difficult to know how many. The ATF list of state laws is only laws relevant to dealers and there are over 3,000 counties in the U.S., and their laws are not listed in ATF. Washington Post tried to argue it is probably far less than 20,000, or that some laws are not really laws despite acting as laws, while critics argue the 20,000 is low. 

(3) Likewise, anti-gun activists lump in suicides as gun deaths, suggesting they are preventable, yet Japan has bans on guns and its suicides did not drop. 

(4) They also make the usual paeans to gun safety and other veneers. Like being in favor of clean water, it is meaningless, because literally no one is in opposition.