SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In Louisiana, gun violence remains the leading cause of death for children and teens, according to reports.

Data shows that 56% percent of children between the ages of 1 and 14 and 7% of children under one that are homicide victims in Louisiana died from gunshot wounds. 43% percent of Louisiana children under 15 who commit suicide used a firearm to end their lives.

On average, children in Shreveport are wounded by gunfire at a rate three times the national average.

This led Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, the region’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, to create the PROTECT program to aid gunshot victims 17 and under and their families.

Mike Nolan, pediatric trauma coordinator at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, said gun violence should be viewed as a public health issue and treated as such.

Pediatric gunshot victims placed in Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport’s PROTECT program can accept needed assistance, whether in the form of mental health services, education, or environmental support.

Mississippi is the only other state that tops Louisiana’s youth gun death statistics. But that does not mean other states should not be concerned about gun violence.

Every day, 12 children die due to gunfire while 32 are injured across the country.

When the number of children who die from gunshot wounds in the United States is compared to the number of children who die of gunshot wounds in other high-income countries with populations of 10 million or more, a crisis comes into focus.

American children are vulnerable to gun violence, whether it is a random act of violence, accidental, or they are the intended target.

School safety is only the beginning of the discussion over the safety of American children, as school shootings make up only a fraction of child gun violence fatalities involving children.

Kids in the states are five times more likely to die of a gunshot wound than by drowning, and children and teens living in poverty are even more likely to die of gun violence than their affluent peers.