Firearms

Firearms

Firearms

Definition: Firearm injuries are injuries that occur because a firearm has been discharged. They can be fatal or nonfatal, intentional or unintentional, and include homicides, assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, and unintentional shootings.

Magnitude of the Problem:  Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 6663, 6,600 children and youth ages 24 and under died due to firearm-related injuries (WISQARS).

  • 35% of these deaths were suicides
  • 61% of these deaths were homicides
  • 3% of these deaths were unintentional
  • 1% of these deaths were of undetermined intent

Prevention: Reducing firearm-related fatalities and injuries requires comprehensive prevention strategies. Best practices include:

  • Safe storage: Firearms should be locked, unloaded, away from ammunition, and out of reach of children.
  • Means reduction: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to lethal means. Firearms are the most lethal of the commonly used suicide means in the U. S.; reducing access to firearms by storing them safety or removing them from the home can help prevent suicide.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online], Fatal Injury Reports, 2010-2014.   

Firearm Safety: Resource Guide 2013

The Children’s Safety Network (CSN) has compiled this resource guide on Firearm Safety and Firearm Violence Prevention to provide state Maternal and Child Health and Injury and Violence Prevention programs with a summary of what is available in the area of firearm safety and prevention. This guide contains information on a broad range of evidence-informed interventions, firearms data, state legislation about firearms, and organizations to contact for additional information.

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CSN Resource Guide
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AAP: Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population

This statement reaffirms the 1992 position of the American Academy of Pediatrics that the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents. A number of specific measures are supported to reduce the destructive effects of guns in the lives of children and adolescents, including the regulation of the manufacture, sale, purchase, ownership, and use of firearms; a ban on handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons; and expanded regulations of handguns for civilian use.

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Useful Publications
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The Cost of Firearm Violence

Firearm injuries cost $174 billion in the United States in 2010 and the government's firearm injury bill alone exceeded $12 billion. PIRE researcher Ted Miller estimates annual firearm injury costs average $645 per gun in America.  The costs include medical and mental health care costs, criminal justice costs, wage losses, and the value of pain, suffering and lost quality of life. Violence - assaults and suicide acts - dominated the costs.

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CSN Publications
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JAMA Pediatrics: Are Household Firearms Stored Less Safely in Homes With Adolescents? Analysis of a National Random Sample of Parents

Objective  To examine whether firearms are more frequently stored loaded, unlocked, or both in households with adolescents only (aged 13-17 years) compared with households with younger children only (aged 0-12 years).

Design  Random-digit-dial survey on firearms (n = 2770). We computed bivariate associations between the presence of adolescents and firearm storage practices. Statistical significance was assessed using prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals.

Setting  United States.

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Useful Publications
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JAMA: Association Between Youth-Focused Firearm Laws and Youth Suicides

Context:  Firearms are used in approximately half of all youth suicides. Many state and federal laws include age-specific restrictions on the purchase, possession, or storage of firearms; however, the association between these laws and suicides among youth has not been carefully examined.

Objective:  To evaluate the association between youth-focused firearm laws and suicides among youth.

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Useful Publications
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Pediatrics: “They’re Too Smart for That”: Predicting What Children Would Do in the Presence of Guns

Objectives. We examined parents’ beliefs about how children would react to finding guns, with particular emphasis on how parents reasoned about children’s actions.

Methods. Based on a randomized telephone survey of Northeast Ohio residents, we focused on the 317 urban and 311 rural respondents who had children 5 to 15 years old in their homes. Respondents were asked about gun ownership and their expectations of how children would react to finding guns. Analysis examined responses in relation to various demographic and socioeconomic variables.

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Useful Publications
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Firearm-Related Death and Injury among Children and Adolescents - futureofchildren.org

As the articles in this journal issue show, gun violence affects children and youth in many ways: psychologically, emotionally, financially, and legally. But first and foremost, gun violence affects children's physical safety. Therefore, this issue opens with an overview of the physical toll that firearms exact upon children and youth, reviewing the incidence of firearm-related injury and death among Americans under age 20.

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Useful Publications
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JAMA Pediatrics: "Love Our Kids, Lock Your Guns": A Community-Based Firearm Safety Counseling and Gun Lock Distribution Program

Background:  Safer storage practices may reduce injury rates by limiting youth access to firearms.

Objective:  To determine if a firearm safety counseling and gun lock distribution program improved storage practices.

Design:  Community-based before-after trial.

Setting:  Urban county in central North Carolina.

Participants:  One hundred twelve adult gun owners recruited through a mass media advertising campaign.

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Useful Publications
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