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Child Access to Firearms in the United States

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Jan. 2014

Children often find or handle firearms in the home without their parents' knowledge. In the United States, 2,600,000 children live in homes with unlocked firearms that are stored loaded or with ammunition. Child Access to Firearms in the US discusses the number of children who have firearms in their household, how the firearms are stored, and how often children handle firearms.

The other infographics in the series are available here:  

Print version of Child Access to Firearms in the US infographic with sources

Child Access to Firearms in the US discusses the number of children who have access to firearms in their household and how the firearms are stored.

 

CHILD ACCESS TO FIREARMS IN THE US

1 in 3 homes with children* have firearms. 22 million children* live in homes with firearms(Schuster, Franke, Bastian, Sor, & Halfon, 2000)

According to Shuster (2000):

12.8 million children* (61%) live in homes with locked firearms
5.7 million children* (27%) live in homes with unlocked firearms with no ammunition
2.6 million children* (12%) live in homes with unlocked, loaded firearms or unlocked firearms stored with ammunition

*Estimates based off of 21,133,000 from Schuster (2000) Table 3, p. 592 (Schuster et al., 2000)
 

Children often find or handle firearms in the home without their parents’ knowledge

According to Baxley (2006):

3 in 4 children ages 5-14 knew where firearms were hidden in the home, but 39% of their parents mistakenly thought that their child did not know the location of firearms (Baxley & Miller, 2006)

1 in 3 children ages 5-14 had handled a firearm in the home, but 22% of their parents mistakenly thought that their child had never handled a firearm (Baxley & Miller, 2006)

By the age of 3, some children are strong enough to pull the trigger of a handgun (90% of 7- to 8-year-olds, 70% of 5- to 6-year-olds, 25% of 3- to 4-year-olds) (Naureckas, Galanter, Naureckas, Donovan, & Christoffel, 1995)

*Children are defined as under 18, unless otherwise specified.

 

For evidence-informed strategies for prevention, visit our resource guide: http://ChildrensSafetyNetwork.org/firearm-resource-guide-2013

To view this infographic on the CSN website, visit: http://ChildrensSafetyNetwork.org/publications/firearms-child-access-infographic

To view the first infographic in this series, Firearm-Related Fatalities in US Children and Youth: Homicide, Suicide, & Unintentional, visit: http://ChildrensSafetyNetwork.org/publications/firearms-intent-infographic

To view the second infographic in this series, The Magnitude of Firearm-Related Fatalities in Children and Youth, visit: http://ChildrensSafetyNetwork.org/publications/firearms-magnitude-infographic

Sources

Baxley, F., & Miller, M. (2006). Parental misperceptions about children and firearms. Archives of pediatrics adolescent medicine, 160, 542–547. Retrievedfrom http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=204929

Naureckas, S. M., Galanter, C., Naureckas, E. T., Donovan, M., & Christoffel, K. K. (1995). Children’s and women's ability to fire handguns. The Pediatric Practice Research Group. Archives of pediatrics adolescent medicine, 149, 1318–1322. Retrieved from http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=517750

Schuster, M. A., Franke, T. M., Bastian, A. M., Sor, S., & Halfon, N. (2000). Firearm storage patterns in US homes with children. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 588–594. Retrieved from http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.90.4.588

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