Strict gun laws not enough to protect children at high risk of violence in U.S.: research

By Xia Lin

NEW YORK, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Death rates from gunshots among young people were 11 times higher in "socially vulnerable" communities compared to those in low-risk areas, according to research published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Guns are the leading cause of death for U.S. children, accounting for one in five child and teen fatalities, with most classified as violent assaults. Accidents account for about a third of gun deaths among small children, according to the research.

"The results suggest some communities need additional solutions, beyond strict gun laws, to reduce firearm-related risk, the study authors from Seattle Children's Hospital, the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said," according to a Bloomberg report of the study.

"Legislation alone, although important, will not address the problem of gun violence in the U.S.," the report cited researchers as saying. It "needs to be accompanied by genuine, deep, and long-term investment in historically marginalized communities to reduce inequities."

After years of high-profile mass shootings, the United States has been locked in a fierce, long-running debate over gun control.

Safety advocates have called for measures including a ban on assault weapons to lower the risk of violence and death, while opponents of increased gun regulation have cited the need for better enforcement of existing laws and improved protection of schools and institutions that have been targeted by gun violence, said the report.

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