Everytown Lies Their Tongues Off With Claim on Child and Teen Deaths

(AP Photo/ Cheryl Senter)

Everytown is one of the largest deep-pocketed anti-Bill of Rights organizations out there. They do serious lobbying and litigation. Their “reporting” arm is The Trace, a publication whose bias should be obvious from who is buttering their bread.

Everytown has a documented history of lying to advance their cause. Those of us on the pro-Rights side are jaded by their behavior, but if you thought that their boldness and daring in peddling falsehoods had peaked, you would be wrong.

Back in August, Everytown posted the following tweet:

“Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America ages 0-19. Our kids shouldn’t have to die like this.”

Really? Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America? That sounded off, so I went straight to the motherlode of statistics: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has a page where you can get detailed information on Leading Causes of Death and Injury.

Trying to get a quick answer, I checked out their “Ten Leading Causes of Death and Injury” infographic images. For both 2018 and 2017, the top cause of death is “unintentional injury,” not firearms, as Everytown claimed above. So, I dug in further to see if Everytown’s claim was buried somewhere, and it was all just a misunderstanding. For both 2018 and 2017, the top categories of “unintentional injury” were dominated by traffic accidents, drowning, and suffocation. So, again, I decided to give Everytown the benefit of the doubt and dug into an even smaller subset of “violence-related injury deaths.” And yet again, for both 2018 and 2017, I found that the top causes were dominated by traffic accidents, drowning, and suffocation. Firearms were clearly not the “leading cause of death” as Everytown claimed.

But what if the infographic images were not providing the accurate picture because the range of years covered (2017-18) was too narrow?

So, to be sure, I ran a custom report on the “Ten Leading Causes of Death.” This report includes all the data available from 2001–2019. Once again, I didn’t see firearms as the leading cause in the report data. Drilling down, the same pattern of traffic accidents, drowning, and suffocation persisted. For the 15-24 age range, poisoning made a cameo; diving into that revealed that drug overdoses are listed as poisoning and were the leading cause of death in the poisoning category.

What if the above report was inaccurate because the age groups were too broad? After all, the CDC’s 15+ range went from 15-year-olds all the way to 24-year-olds. 

So, I ran another custom report, this one covering data from 1999–2019. (Note that this custom report was not available for 2001–2019.) Under the “Advanced Options,” I was able to set a custom age range from “<1” to 19, which was the age range that Everytown claimed in their tweet. Yet again over this 20-year period, unintentional injury deaths (184,060) – the top cause – were almost 3.5 times higher than homicides (53,628), and almost twice as high than homicides and suicides (44,595) combined. Homicides and suicides included all means, not just those committed using firearms. Again, this report didn’t substantiate Everytown’s claim. Out of curiosity, I limited the age range from “<1” to 17, because 18- and 19-year-olds are voting-age adults; homicides and suicides dropped even lower with these criteria.

I still wasn’t giving up on Everytown; what if I messed up somehow and Everytown was actually correct. So, I ran a final report with the data the CDC has going back to the 1981–1998 period. And yet again, unintentional injury deaths (257,110) vastly outnumbered homicides (60,768) and suicides (38,215); note that the homicide and suicide numbers include all means, firearms, cutting instruments, blunt objects… you name it.

Based on the CDC’s reports and readily available infographics, I was not able to substantiate Everytown’s claim. If Everytown has any data that’s not conjured out of thin air, they need to come clean and disclose it. Until then, their deliberate misinformation needs to be stopped by those of us on the pro-Rights side, using free speech and facts, not by calling for censoring or silencing them.