In the wake of the Parkland massacre, McClatchy and The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that covers gun-related news, tracked the deaths of young people 18 and under throughout the United States in the year since Parkland.
The organizations pulled information on gun-involved deaths of school-age children from the nonprofit research group Gun Violence Archive, which culls reports of gun-involved incidents from more than 2,000 media sources. To compare deaths in the year since Parkland to those before, McClatchy classified each year as starting on Feb. 14 and ending on Feb. 13.
McClatchy/The Trace pulled information on gun-involved homicides for those 18 and younger.
To confirm the data and fill in missing details, McClatchy requested incident reports for each of the deaths from the police agencies that investigated each case. To do this, McClatchy compiled a database of law enforcement media and records contacts for more than 600 agencies and wrote a program to send records requests to each agency.
These, in addition to media reports, were used to confirm information and classify incidents as homicides, homicides as a result of domestic violence and accidental deaths.
As Gun Violence Archive pulls from media reports, known incidents of gun violence is limited to what is reported by police and news organizations. Incidents not covered by local news outlets or incidents that occur where there are no local news outlets may not be reflected.
News organizations also generally do not report on suicides, so those are not reflected in the Gun Violence Archive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number firearm-involved suicides for ages 18 and younger in 2017 to be more than 950, based on death certificates from 34 states.
While McClatchy and The Trace were successful in getting about 350 initial incident reports, many could not be obtained or had crucial information redacted.
In instances where McClatchy was unable to obtain the report, information was checked with multiple sources where possible.
Murder-suicide: Deaths in which the shooter killed himself or herself after shooting the victim.
Domestic: Deaths in which the shooter is a family member, a victim’s current or former romantic partner or a family member’s current or former romantic partner.
Accidental: Deaths in which the weapon discharged without intent or when children got a hold of a firearm and unintentionally shot themselves or another.