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GUNS IN AMERICA: 15-year-old shot & killed, parents losing children demanding change

In the U.S., kids are more likely to die from gun violence than in other wealthy countries.
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Posted at 11:25 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 14:18:33-04

WACO, Texas — Noel King, 15, spent much of his time with family, friends, and at church.

"He loved church, he loved playing at church, there was a lot of things about the church that he liked," said Gardana Wright, mother of Noel.

The weekend after the shooting in Uvalde that took 21 lives, Noel was shot and killed.

"I don't know who killed him, it's different stories," said Wright.

Noel was like many kids his age. A social butterfly and had his own YouTube channel where he would dance and worship.

Researchers from the University of San Francisco and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health compared firearm deaths in the U.S. to other populous, high-income countries.

In their most recent study, data from 2015 finds that the U.S. loses more children in firearm deaths. Researchers looked at 29 countries. Almost 97 percent of those killed were children 4 and younger, and 92 percent of firearm deaths were for those between the ages of 5 and 14.

GUNS IN AMERICA: 15-year-old shot and killed; parents losing children demanding change & protesting

For Noel's mother, the days and nights have been difficult.

Patricia Allen who runs an organization called 'No More Violence," said she can still hear the screams of parents after losing a child.

"They don't have to go to a gun store to get a gun," said Allen.

Many guns come from inside the home. Research funded by the National Institute of Justice in 2021 suggests that 80 percent of mass shooters at K-12 schools stole guns from family members.

"They know where to get them, that's the hurtful part about it," said Allen.

Working with around 70 families, Allen's organization is up and down the road across North and Central Texas working with those who've lost children to suicide.

Youth suicide using guns is rising, according to an analysis by The Trace. The analysis noted an increase in firearm suicide rates among teens and those in their 20s between 2011 and 2020.

"The firearm suicide rate more than doubled among Black, Latino, and Asian teenagers, while it increased by 88 percent for Native Americans and 35 percent for white teens," the analysis found.

The Biden Administration made a decisive step in the push toward stricter firearms laws, although some gun control advocates disagree.

“If the objective is to stop mass murders, gun control doesn’t work," said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "The State of Illinois has among the strictest gun control laws of any state in the country. Highland Park has even stricter gun control laws than the state of Illinois."