Pro-life activists challenged gun control advocate Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., on Friday for declaring that guns are the "#1 killer of kids in America" on X (formerly Twitter).

Prominent conservatives replied to the Democrat’s post, calling it inaccurate, or saying it lacked proper context. Some provided stats when trying to upend his claim, with one set of numbers demonstrating that abortion was the leading cause of death for children in the country.

Newsom’s post linked to a Washington Post article published this week which cited a 2021 study revealing that 2021 was the "the second year in a row in which guns were the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States, surpassing cars, drug overdoses and cancer."


Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., was trashed on social media Friday after declaring that guns are the number one killer of kids in America. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

The Post stated, "The report said 4,752 children died from a firearm injury in 2021 — an increase of almost 42 percent from 2018. The study, published in the journal American Academy of Pediatrics, found nearly half of those who died in 2021 were Black and about 85 percent were males."

Captioning the post, Newsom said, "Guns are the #1 killer of kids in America. Not cancer. Not car crashes. Not drugs. GUNS. And what is the @GOP doing about it? Absolutely nothing."

The governor’s declaration prompted a wave of reactions, with prominent conservatives like Canadian psychologist and author Dr. Jordan Peterson flat out denying the claim.

Peterson posted, "Not by a long Shot Buddy. It's Abortion."’s X account said a similar thing, stating, "Abortion is the number one killer of kids in America." 

The pro-life outlet also shared an article, which stated, "National Right to Life estimates almost 900,000 unborn babes were aborted in 2020, based on research by the Guttmacher Institute. While abortion rates have dropped steadily since the 1990s, abortion is still the leading cause of death in America. With an estimated 886,677 babies dying in abortions and 45,222 dying in gun deaths, abortions are 19.6 times more deadly."

Conservative content creator Viva Frei replied to Newsom, saying, "I call bulls---, @GavinNewsom. It seems that the leading causes of death for "kids" are: 1) Unintentional accident, 2) Suicide, 3)Homicide. So you seem to be wrong."


Woman holding gun

X users grilled Newsom for the post, claiming he was either lying or getting his facts wrong. ( MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Frei added, "But, even if we accept your premise that guns are the leading cause of death among ‘kids’, can you please provide a demographic / geographic breakdown? I don't think you will."

Pro-gun account "The Truth About Guns" posted, "He continually lies about this. The only way they can claim this is to include 18- and 19-year-olds. They’re adults, not ‘kids’ or ‘children.’ Skewing it like that brings in a lot of gang- and drug-related shootings. He’s a shameless, filthy liar. But you probably knew that."

Conservative influencer @PolitiBunny made the same point, posting, "Unintentional accidents are actually the #1 killer of kids in America. Not to mention people over 18 aren’t kids (interesting how the STAT is 19 and under). If you want to talk death, though, let’s talk about Democrats and their ‘abortion up to birth’ stance, Gav."

User "The Yootopian" made this point as well, declaring, "THIS IS A LIE. Guns aren't even CLOSE to being the #1 killer of children. Gavin is using a DEBUNKED story that includes 18 and 19 year old drug gang members as ‘children.’ If you have to LIE, Gavin... your case much be very weak. And it is."

The user also linked to their X thread from May, which included a article fact-checking former President Barack Obama for making the same claim earlier this year. 

The article added some context, stating, "The claim that guns were the leading cause of death for U.S. children in 2020 and 2021 is true only if the selected age range is 1-19 years old. This range excludes infants under one year old, who have a unique risk of age-specific causes of death."

The piece added, "Similarly, capping the age range at 17, instead of 18 or 19, also alters the result, as children aged 17 and under have a greater risk of dying of vehicle-related injuries."

However, the CDC has reported that recent years have seen guns become the leading cause of death for U.S. children. 

In 2022, CDC data showed that, while studies in 2016 found that motor vehicle accidents surpassed gun deaths for children, a roughly 30% spike in the latter between 2019 and 2020 made firearms the leading cause of death for children, who it defines as children and adolescents 19-years-old or younger.

The center reported 4,368 child deaths by gunfire in 2020, the vast majority of which were homicides, followed by suicides. Unintentional gun deaths and deaths where a motive could not be determined accounted for a very small portion of the data.

The governor's office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment on the backlash.


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Fox News Digital's Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.