Keep the “safe” in firearm safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges.

Are your children safe?

Just talking to your child about gun safety is not enough. Children are naturally curious and susceptible to peer pressure. With a gun in 40% of homes with children, it is every parent’s responsibility to ask.

Ask if there is a gun before sending your child over to play.

If you own a gun, empty it out and lock it up.

And … check out this simulated video reenactment of a very real problem – easy access to firearms in the home by a child. Read the related public service announcement here.

Source: video and PSA created by States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Youth & Guns

RAND Research Gun Policy in America (April 2020) states that “firearm homicides and violent crimes disproportionately involve individuals under age 21, both as perpetrators and as victims.” Most of the guns used by youth involved in criminal activity are acquired illegally. “Surveys have found that, among juveniles who have been incarcerated or arrested, youth offenders acquire their firearms through similar sources as adult offenders, with more than 80 percent citing a friend, a family member, or the black market as the means by which they acquired their weapon.”

Below are some relevant statistics related to youth gun violence, including accidental and suicide:

  • Gun violence is the second-leading cause of death among children, according to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) report, The State of America’s Children 2020, Gun Violence.
  • The CDF also reports that for every child killed by a gun in 2017, another five were injured by a gun.
  • Although it is illegal in many states for youth to carry a firearm, 1 in 18 teens in the U.S. carries a gun to school, according to a report published in Pediatrics in December 2019.
  • Nearly 25% of all unintentional firearm deaths are between the ages of 0 and 19, states the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV).
  • EFSGV also reports that an estimated 110 children between the ages of 0 and 14 die every year from an accidental shooting – the majority of which happened because guns were not properly stored in the home.
  • A 2019 report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and cited by NBC News states there is a relationship between guns in the home and youth suicide (youth between the ages of 10 and 19). The report cited a 2018 study which found “for each 10 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9%.”

Access to firearms during this crisis (COVID), and at all times, greatly increases the risk of harm or death to you and your loved ones. If you choose to keep firearms in your home, store them locked and unloaded, and lock up ammunition separately from firearms. Source: The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Safe Storage

 Safe storage of guns is defined by researchers for a study conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as “keeping all guns in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case; locked into a gun rack, or stored with a trigger lock or other lock.” This study found that 54 percent of those surveyed did not store their firearms safely.

Franklin County Children’s Services shares Gun Safety Tips for parents from SafeKids Worldwide. A downloadable Gun Safety Tips fact sheet is also available from SafeKids.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics (May 13, 2019) finds that safe storage of guns could prevent 32% of firearm deaths. The study stated “6% to 32% of youth firearm deaths (by suicide and unintentional firearm injury) could be prevented, depending on the probability that an intervention motivates adults who currently do not lock all household firearms to instead lock all guns in their home.” 

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