Trump On Fox News Town Hall In South Carolina

California Gov. Newsom Vs. Former President Trump On Guns: Looking At The Facts

Trump On Fox News Town Hall In South Carolina
Trump On Fox News Town Hall In South Carolina

An X (Twitter) discussion sparked by California Gov. Gavin Newsom criticizing Trump’s stance on gun laws led to debates on gun violence, abortion, and California’s political climate.

The conversation included arguments on the leading causes of child deaths, the effectiveness of California’s gun laws, and personal opinions on abortion.

The discussion also touched on California’s political and social issues, including homelessness and the migration of Californians to other states.

Newsom was responding to comments made by former President Trump at the NRA convention in Texas.

“In my second term, we will roll back every Biden attack on the Second Amendment. The attacks are fast and furious, starting the minute that crooked Joe shuffles his way out of the White House,” Trump said while speaking at the conference.

Newsom responded.

“Guns are the number one killer of kids. Not cancer. Not car accidents. GUNS. And what’s Trump’s response? A promise to roll back BASIC gun safety laws. He’s willing to sacrifice our kids’ lives to gain the support of the @NRA. It’s sick,” said Newson on X.

The problem with Newsom’s statement is context. Legal versus illegal firearms and how the increase in child firearms deaths is happening.

Read: Homelessness Surging In San Francisco Despite Doling Out Hundreds Of Millions

KFF analysis of provisional 2022 data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the recent increases in firearm death rates among children and adolescents ages 17 and under were driven largely by gun assaults, which accounted for 66% of firearm deaths among young people in 2022, up from 54% in 2019.

Data also show that in 2022, seven children ages 17 and below per day died by firearm, similar to 2021. This caps a decade in which firearm death rates gradually rose until 2017, then slowed through 2019 before climbing sharply by 46% from 2019 to 2022. 

From 2012 to 2022, nearly 19,700 children ages 17 and younger died by firearm. The analysis shows that both the national rise in overall firearm-related deaths and those specifically involving gun assaults have affected more Black and Hispanic children and adolescents.

In 2022, the rate of firearm deaths among Black youth was 12.2 deaths per 100,000 people – higher than any other racial and ethnic group and six times higher than White youth.

Source: KFF
Source: KFF

Additionally, since the onset of the pandemic, the gap in gun assault death rates between Black and White children and adolescents has significantly widened.

As a result of worsening trends in firearm deaths, in 2022, Black youth accounted for 48% of all youth firearm deaths although they made up only 14% of the U.S. youth population.

Exposure to gun violence impacts more Black youth, and gun violence exposure is linked to poor mental health and substance use outcomes.

According to KFF, among child and adolescent firearm deaths in 2022, 27% were due to suicides, and 5% were accidental. 

Suicides by firearm have increased over the past decade among children and adolescents, peaking in 2021 with 827 deaths before declining to 686 deaths in 2022.

Despite this decline, firearm suicides made up 27% of all child and adolescent firearm deaths. Further, 43% of total suicide deaths among children and adolescents in 2022 involved firearms.

Accidental firearm deaths have shown little variation over the past decade and continue to account for roughly 5% of all child and adolescent firearm deaths.

Source: KFF
Source: KFF

Meanwhile, in California, a state with strict gun laws, one has to ask if this is a gun problem or a fundamental enforcing law problem.

Since 2019, California has witnessed a steady increase in violent crime, with a 13.5% rise compared to 2019 and a 26.4% increase compared to 2014.

This troubling trajectory is primarily driven by a spike in homicides and aggravated assaults, which have seen significant jumps of 25.3% and over 25%, respectively, relative to 2019 levels. While robberies have also increased by 9.9%, they remain below pre-pandemic levels.

A concerning aspect of this surge in violent crime is the significant role that firearms are playing. In 2022, 59% of the overall increase in violent crimes involved the use of guns, highlighting the outsized impact of these weapons on public safety.

This trend is particularly pronounced in certain regions, with counties like San Joaquin and Alameda reporting that nearly 40% of their violent crimes involve firearms.

The presence of guns in violent crimes varies across different types of offenses. The vast majority of homicides, a staggering 71.4%, involve the use of firearms, a rate that remains higher than pre-pandemic levels. Robberies involving guns have also been on the rise, with 28.8% of these crimes now involving firearms, a significant increase since 2019. In contrast, aggravated assaults with guns dipped slightly in 2022 but still remain above pre-pandemic levels.

The prevalence of guns in violent crimes is not evenly distributed across California’s counties. The state’s 15 largest counties display stark differences in the proportion of violent crimes involving firearms.

In San Joaquin and Alameda Counties, nearly 40% of violent crimes involve guns, while in Orange County and San Diego, the rate is a comparatively lower 14%. These regional disparities underscore the need for tailored, localized approaches to addressing gun violence.

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The impact of firearms on specific types of violent crimes is particularly pronounced. In San Joaquin and Alameda Counties, close to 90% of all homicides involve guns, while in San Mateo, the share is 38%. Similarly, in Alameda, 48% of robberies are committed with a gun, compared to just 15% in San Diego.

In response to the growing prevalence of guns in violent crimes, California has long been viewed as a leader in enacting strict gun laws.

The state legislature has passed and proposed multiple bills aimed at addressing this issue, including measures to restrict minors from buying and possessing firearms and prohibit the possession or transfer of untraceable “ghost guns.”

However, these laws impact responsible and lawful gun owners as opposed to criminals.

While the latest statewide crime numbers clearly indicate a troubling upward trend in violent crime, the underlying factors driving this increase remain a subject of ongoing debate.

Previous research found no link between violent crime and criminal justice reforms, including Proposition 47 enacted in 2014.

However, these studies did not extend beyond 2016, leaving open the question of whether these findings still hold true today, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and additional criminal justice reforms.

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