11 PERCENT OF U.S. CHILDHOOD DEATHS IN '87 WERE CAUSED BY GUNS

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 25 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

More than one of every 10 childhood deaths in America during 1987 was caused by a gun, a government report said.

The National Center for Health Statistics said Tuesday that firearms killed 3,392 people aged 1 through 19 in 1987 - the last year for which complete statistics are available - accounting for 11 percent of what are defined as childhood deaths.The center's report, based on state death certificates and World Health Organization statistics, included firearm deaths from homicide, suicide and unintentional injuries.

The proportion of deaths caused by firearms rose with age - from 1 percent at ages 1 to 4, to 17 percent among teenagers. Black male teenagers were at the highest risk, with more than 40 percent of all deaths caused by guns.

Between 1968 and 1987, overall firearm-related deaths remained steady in the United States - except among teenagers, for whom the death rate rose from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1968 to 14.7 in 1987, the center said.

The report also said America "is unique" among industrialized nations in the number of young people killed by guns.

In 1986, when there were 1,043 firearm-related homicides among U.S. males aged 15 to 19, there were six in Canada and two in Japan.

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