Child homicides, suicides in Texas increase

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Child homicides and suicides in the State of Texas have increased, according to a report released recently by the State’s Child Fatality Review Team.

Firearms are involved in most of these homicides. The 2014-2015 biennial report released last week also concluded that almost half of suicides in the state are by firearm, Andrea Brauer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense said. “Here’s proof that gun violence and gun safety are a public health problem in Texas and must be addressed,” she said.

The review team consists of 22 members who are a part of law enforcement, the medical community, and others.

The report only analyzes a portion of child deaths in Texas, Brauer said. But of those, there were 145 homicides in the most recent year compared to 127 in the previous year.

A report from the state’s Protect Our Kids Commission in December 2015 reported that neglect fatalities most commonly involve drowning, unsafe sleep, car and firearm accidents.

The state’s Department of Family and Protective Services identified these incidents as neglect by a caregiver. “Texas is making efforts to reduce other unsafe practices that cause child fatalities,” Brauer said. “Why is there no state campaign to reduce firearm accidents?”

The report notes that unsafe firearm storage is a public health problem and a preventable danger. It also made a recommendation to the governor and legislature to create a statewide safe storage campaign. “We wholeheartedly support this recommendation and will be calling on members of the relevant legislative committees to take action,” Brauer said. “It’s time for the Legislature to go beyond its focus on gun rights and acknowledge the number of deaths and injuries caused by firearms each year.”

She continued, “A gun owner responsibility campaign can reduce the number of senseless tragedies in Texas year after year, and does not diminish gun owner rights.”

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