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A new study from a leading gun control group shows that at least 100 children were unintentionally killed by gunfire in the year following the Newtown, Conn. massacre in December 2012.

The study, headed by Everytown for Gun Safety and released Wednesday, also declares that unintentional shootings kill two children weekly — 61 percent more than current statistics show. The report, titled, “Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths,” is a detailed examination of the frequency, causes, and victims of accidental shootings of children.

“It is preventable,” said John Feinblatt, the group’s president. “Too often we just say it is an accident or inevitable. But what this data shows is it’s preventable.”

The study showed that 73 percent of the deaths it counted involved a shooter who was a minor, which it defined as age 14 or younger.

In 57 percent of cases, the victim was shot by someone else. In 35 percent of cases, the victim accidentally shot himself or herself. The youngest victims were most likely to shoot themselves. The eldest were most likely to be shot by peers.

Unintentional shootings of children occurred most often in places familiar to those who were killed. Eighty-four percent of victims were killed in their home, the home of a friend, or the family car, according to the study. In 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or other family member.

The killings occurred more often in small towns and rural areas than in cities. They occurred in 35 states.

The findings came from a review of news stories and subscription services in the months following the Newtown shooting. Researchers from Everytown then followed up with law enforcement officials on cases where there were any questions. If it remained unclear whether the shooting was accidental, the researchers did not count it.

“We are meticulous about our information and research,” Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for the group said, noting that the new study includes detailed notes listing each of the 100 shootings it counted. “We are working against the gun lobby, which has, for decades, tried to suppress this information.”

Part of the problem, Everytown argues, is poor education about the dangers of firearms and how to safely store them. The group advocates “well-tailored child safety” laws, including those “imposing criminal liability” for irresponsible gun storage. The report cites Florida’s “Child Access Prevention” law as one to emulate.

Disturbingly, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has projected that an average of 62 children ages 14 and under are accidentally shot to death each year. But the new numbers, much higher than those previous statistics, are bringing to light the real and sobering effect guns have in communities where children reside.

For more information on Everytown’s report, click here.

SOURCE: Everytown, HuffPost | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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