The most wonderful time of the year is also among the deadliest.
According to an analysis by the Associated Press and the USA Today Network, unintentional shootings spike in the U.S. during the holidays.
The analysis determined that 32 people were killed nationwide and 59 injured over the past two years from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day — which is the most likely day for accidental shootings each year.
The victims were mostly male and young, with a median age of 19. Nearly half the shootings were self-inflicted, and most occurred in their own homes.
The AP and USA Today Network looked at holiday shootings after an earlier investigation found that accidental shootings involving children happen far more often than federal government statistics show.
Based on incidents compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, they found that more than 320 minors were killed by unintentional shootings over a 2½ year period that ended June 30.
Several factors contribute to the increase:
- Children and teenagers are out of school for the holidays and have access to unsecured guns at their homes and those of relatives and friends.
- Adults are drinking alcohol and inattentive to gun safety or their children.
- New guns are given and received as gifts in the tens of thousands.
- It’s a popular time of year for hunting.