RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)–Homicide was the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 17 in North Carolina for 2020, according to a new report from the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

Most of the homicides involve firearms.

According to the report, the 2020 rate of firearm deaths is more than 2.5 times higher than a decade earlier. 105 children died from firearms in 2020, that includes 31 suicides, according to the report.

“Whenever we see a trend line that jumps as much as the firearm death rate did, we pay attention to that,” said North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force Executive Director Kella Hatcher.

Homicide was the leading cause of death in the 15-17 year old age group. Out of the 50 deaths, 48 involved firearms.

Kenita Stubbs said her family is staying strong nearly two years after losing her 15-year-old son, Michael Harris, to the leading cause of death in his age group- homicide.

Harris was shot and killed along the 200 block of Seven Oaks Road in Durham in August 2020. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Stubbs said Harris was sweet and giving. She said lives lost like her son’s are lives that could still be here.

“It’s very preventable,” she said. “Accidents happen, but shooting someone intentionally, it can be prevented with prevention, awareness, and accountability.”

Stubbs said she’s not surprised homicide was the leading cause of death in the 15-17 year old age group.

“It’s not [surprising] now,” Stubbs said. “It was surprising because they’re babies to me.”

The task force is recommending the state legislature launch and fund a statewide firearm safe storage and awareness initiative, it’s made the recommendation a few years in a row. Hatcher said the House passed the bill almost unanimously in 2021, and could pass the Senate in 2022.

“The data that we studied definitely shows that safe storage practices make a difference,” Stubbs said.

The task force said suicide was the leading cause of death in ages 10-14. More than half of the 20 suicides involved firearms.