Firearm Safety


Definition: A firearm injury is a gunshot wound or penetrating injury from a weapon that uses a powder charge to fire a projectile. It can be unintentional (accidental firing without intention), intentionally self-inflicted (suicide), interpersonal violence (homicide or assault), legal intervention (injury inflicted by the police or other law enforcement agents acting in the line of duty), or undetermined intent (injury where there is insufficient information to determine intent type).

Magnitude of the Problem

Between 2016 and 2019, an average of 13,330 children and adolescents ages 19 and under died due to firearm-related injuries (Source: CDC WISQARS).

  • 36% of these deaths were suicides
  • 57% of these deaths were homicides
  • 4% of these deaths were unintentional
  • 2% of these deaths were of undetermined intent
  • 1% of these deaths were from legal intervention


Reducing firearm-related injuries require comprehensive prevention strategies. Best practices include:

  • Safe storage: Firearms should be locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, and out of reach of children.
  • Means reduction: Remove firearms from the home if the child is experiencing a mental health problem or life crisis.
  • Clinician screening: Increase firearm safety screening to caregivers of children for the presence of a firearm in the home and educate them around firearm safety.
  • Family, school, and community-based interventions: Provide behavioral skills training to children and families to increase their coping skills and prevent harmful firearm handling.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), Fatal Injury Reports, 2016-2019.