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Study: Shootings Now 3rd Leading Cause Of Death For Children

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A spate of gun violence that saw eight people killed and 49 wounded in Chicago over the weekend comes as a new study from the Centers for Disease Control found at least 19 children are killed or injured by guns every day in the U.S.

The new study in the Journal of Pediatrics found boys, teens, and African Americans are the most at risk when it comes to shootings.

The research came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which examined data from death certificates, police reports, and hospital emergency room reports from 2002 to 2014.

It revealed gunfire kills or injures at least 19 children each day. Every year, nearly 1,300 children die from shootings, and another 5,790 are injured. More than half of the deaths were homicides, and more than a third were suicides.

The report found gunshot wounds are the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 17.

The emergency department at Stroger Hospital has seen a rise in young trauma victims, including children injured by guns.

"People need to understand the challenges that our city's youth are facing on a day-to-day or an hourly basis. At any moment, our kids in this city are worried if they're going to make it to the next day," Stroger Hospital licensed clinical social worker Andy Wheeler said. "For example, in some of the peer groups that we run, when we ask them how they're doing today, a lot of the kids are just like, 'I'm just thankful to be here today.'"

Dr. Faran Bokhari, chief of trauma surgery at Stroger Hospital, said child victims of gun violence have "a very different perspective on life."

"Most of us have not shared that perspective. It's not a very young perspective. It's a very terminal perspective of not having a future. It's shocking when you talk to them," he said.

Boys are especially vulnerable to gun violence, accounting for 82 percent of all child firearm deaths and 84 percent of all non-fatal gun injuries, the report found.

African-American children have the highest rates of firearm mortality overall -- 10 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white and Asian-American children, according to the report.

The findings explain why researchers view gun violence as a public health crisis, and how they can understand the problem and develop solutions.

The journal recommended doctors also talk to parents about firearms safety.

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