Nearly 39,000 school-age children in America have been killed by firearms in the last 18 years in what scientists are calling an “epidemic,” according to a new study released Thursday. The authors of the American Journal of Medicine study note the number of children between the ages of 5 and 18 killed by firearms in recent years tops the number of police officers and military-service members killed in action. “It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active-duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms,” said Charles Hennekens of Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine, the study’s lead author. According to the study, of the 38,942 deaths recorded between 1999 and 2017, 6,464 were among children aged 5 to 14 (average of 340 deaths per year), and 32,478 were among kids aged 15 to 18 (average of 2,050 deaths per year). Black children accounted for 41 percent of overall deaths, and 86 percent of all deaths were boys.