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Child Gun Safety: Baby Steps in a 1000-Mile Journey
an article by Tony Dominski

The University of Vermont, McClure Musculoskeletal Research Center, reports that although U.S. firearm related injury and death actually may be declining, there are still 115,000 gunshot wounds resulting in 40,000 deaths each year. Ongoing efforts to protect children from guns are a small but necessary step in the quest to protect all our citizens from violence.

According to a June, 2004 article in the journal Pediatrics, 23,000 U.S. children 14 years and younger suffered gunshot wounds from 1993 through 2000. The result was 5,000 deaths and 3,000 permanent disabilities. However, by the end of the 1990s the rates of both deaths and injuries rates had declined 50%. This is good news and gives hope for greater improvements.

Dr. Tamera Coyne- Beasley, University of North Carolina, directed a promising pilot child gun safety program in a predominately white working class area. As a result, 10% of households with children removed all guns from their homes. The program also reduced the incidence of unlocked and loaded guns more than 50%. Guns often kept for protection in private homes are 22 times more likely to be fired at a family member than at an intruder.

Eighteen states have laws making improper firearm storage a crime. An August 4, 2004 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that these laws may have been linked to a decline in suicide rates among teenagers. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 19 years in the United States, accounting for 1,883 deaths in 2001. Firearms were used in approximately half of these suicides.

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


U.S. gun related deaths, What will be needed to drastically reduce them?

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Latest reader comment:

Quote (CPNN Administrator @ Sep. 07 2004,07:46)
Readers' comments are invited on this report and discussion question.

Do you think the lifting of the ban on assault weapons will add to the number of gun related deaths? Does a well ordered militia arm itself with grenade launchers and bayonets?
What is the next small step we can take to reduce the fixation on the "right to bear arms"?


This report was posted on September 7, 2004.