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Expert: More Arizona Children Dying From Guns

As Arizona lawmakers consider how to improve school safety, some public health experts caution the number of children dying due to firearms is going up.

More than 780 children died in Arizona in 2016. Firearms accounted for 36 of those deaths — an increase from the 28 deaths in 2015.

Those numbers come from the most recent data collected in the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program.  

“Firearms were the most common cause of death among adolescents in Arizona,” said Dr. Mary Rimsza, who chairs the fatality review program,.

Speaking at the Arizona Public Health Association’s 2018 Spring conference, Rimsza explained the state has not made progress in preventing deaths from firearms like it has with drowning or motor vehicles.

“It’s usually a gun that is in the home and is available to the teenager. For young kids, it may be an accidental death. A parent leaves a gun on a counter like they would a bottle of aspirin,” Rimsza said.

She said their review determined one hundred percent of the firearm deaths were preventable.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.