This week, at least seven teenagers were shot and wounded and two teenagers were shot and killed in St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas over the course of a devastating few days of gun violence. A teenager in St. Louis was shot and killed Sunday afternoon, the 11th child shot and killed in St. Louis in 2021. Four teenagers were shot and wounded near Kiener Plaza in St. Louis on Sunday. On Tuesday, a 15-year-old was shot and killed near an elementary school in Kansas City, Kansas. Additional details are still developing.
“Our hearts are with the families of the children impacted by this horrifying few days of gun violence,” said Tonya McCaw, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Constant heartbreak can not and should not be our reality. We deserve tangible action to address the gun violence crisis in our communities. We remain committed to holding lawmakers and leaders accountable and encouraging real steps to protect our communities from gun violence.”
“These gut wrenching tragedies should have never happened — our hearts go out to the families of those taken by gun violence over the past couple of days,” said Ben Cohen, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Students Demand Action. “My generation should not have to live in a world where gun violence is a constant and present threat. Change needs to happen, and until it does, we will continue to speak out and try to create a world where tragedies like what we’ve seen this week are a thing of the past.”
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Missouri and Kansas. Black children and teens are six times more likely than their white peers to die by guns in Missouri, and three times more likely in Kansas. In an average year, 1,222 people die and 2,584 people are wounded by guns in Missouri, and 401 people die and 878 people are wounded by guns in Kansas.
According to a new Everytown report on community trauma among Black Americans, direct and indirect exposure to violence takes a toll on children and adolescents. The trauma of exposure to gun violence, overlaid with other forms of trauma, affects children in every avenue of their lives. These symptoms can be physical, emotional, and social, including anxiety, sleeping problems, and an impact on their ability to learn and school performance. Adolescents are similarly impacted by trauma, experiencing worsensed physical and mental wellbeing, an impeded ability to concentrate and learn and challenges maintaining healthy interpersonal and intimate relationships. The report also shows that persistent violence, even when not experienced directly, can complicate efforts to heal from trauma.
Read more about the impact of gun violence on children and teens here. Additional information on gun violence in Missouri is available here, and additional information on gun violence in Kansas is available here. Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how gun laws in Missouri and Kansas compare to those of other states — is available here.