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Friday
Oct252013

Boy, 11, Latest Arrested with Gun, But Stats Say Trend Is Declining

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Despite recent reports of children and guns, experts and statistics indicate that the number of shootings involving kids has been declining in recent years.

Earlier this week, a 12-year-old student in Nevada used a semi-automatic gun to kill a teacher and injure two students before taking his own life.  

On Wednesday, an 11-year-old Washington boy was arrested for bringing a gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to school.  No one was injured in that case.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that firearm deaths and death rates in children from ages 1 to 14 have dropped from 1999-2010, the latest year the CDC has documented.  There were 481 deaths involving kids and guns in 1999 and 369 in 2010.

Firearm homicides, firearm suicides and unintentional firearm deaths all decreased in that decade.

David Hemenway, a professor of health policy at Harvard's School of Public Health, said that the rash of recent incidents are not an indicator of a suddenly growing problem.

"I believe in the CDC numbers," Hemenway told ABC News.  "What is in the news is not a good epidemiology."

Hemenway said that children and guns have been a problem for a long time, and while the number of deaths have decreased, the decline should not underscore how "incredibly serious" the problem is.

"This sort of gets people's attention so now let's look at this issue and try to have more sensible policies and change social norms in ways that reduce the problems," he said.  "We do know that areas in the United States where there are fewer guns and stronger laws, there are fewer gun problems."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio