A leading gun control group included adults in death statistics used in a media campaign about toddlers.
The Brady Campaign launched its "Toddlers Kill" campaign on Monday with a series of online video and image ads. It simultaneously launched ToddlersKill.org, which features a variety of claims about children and firearms. The public relations campaign is meant as a sarcastic play on common gun rights arguments. One of the campaign's taglines is "guns don't kill people, toddlers kill people."
The campaign's ads exclusively use imagery of toddlers and young children, but some of its gun violence statistics include incidents having nothing to do with children.
In one tweet, the Brady Campaign claimed that "about 2,600 kids & teens are killed by guns each year."
— Brady Campaign (@Bradybuzz) October 18, 2016
The Brady Campaign pointed to a fact sheet published by its sister organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, to corroborate the statistic. The fact sheet claims "2,624 kids and teens die from gun violence" each year, based on analysis of a Centers for Disease Control database. The statistic counts the firearm-related deaths of everyone under age 19, from toddlers to 18 and 19-year-old adults.
The CDC's 2014 National Vital Statistics Report records starkly different incidence of firearm-related death for children and young adults. The agency breaks its data down into four age categories for individuals under age 24: Under 1 year old, 1 to 4 years old, 5 to 14 years old, and 15 to 24 years old.
Fifty children under age 14 were killed in accidental shootings in 2014, while nearly three times as many, or 148, people between ages 15 and 24 were killed in accidental shootings. The same holds true for firearms homicides. Five children under 1 year old, 47 children between the ages 1 and 4, and 173 children between the ages of 5 and 14 were murdered, while 3,587 people between the ages of 15 and 24 were murdered in the same time period.
The age contrast for firearms suicides was even more pronounced, with no deaths recorded for children under age 4, 174 deaths for children between ages 5 and 14, and 2,270 deaths for people age 15 and 24.
The Brady Campaign said its message is not confined to just toddlers, though the campaign's website is named ToddlersKill.org.
"This isn't just about toddlers," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign. "Ninety Americans die from gun violence every day. Whether the trigger is pulled by a toddler, a convicted felon, domestic abuser, or terrorist, we have a problem in America with guns too easily falling into the wrong hands. And that translates to hundreds of lives lost or changed forever every single day. The fact is that we can prevent so many of these tragedies just by keeping guns out of the hands of the people we all agree shouldn’t have them. We get the absolute importance of keeping us all safe against terrorism. But any politician who says they care about that, and then ignores the real things we can do to make us all safer by keeping guns out of the wrong hands, is nothing short of a hypocrite."