A new study has found that as the number of homes with guns increases, the more child gunshot wounds and deaths occur. The study found a significant link between states with more firearm ownership and the amount of gunshot wounds and deaths in the home. In the same study, it was revealed that each year, 500 children are fatally injured by guns and another 7,500 suffer non-fatal injuries from firearms. The study was presented at the the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.
The research examined medical records for several years between 1997 and 2009. The study authors found that wounds from gunshots among children increased nearly 80% and deaths from gunshot wounds increased almost 60% during the time period analyzed by the study. 80% of injuries from guns came from small handguns.
Dr. Arin L. Madenci, one of the authors of the study, said that he and his colleagues also found a link between handguns and the number of gunshot wounds and deaths suffered by children.“Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade,” he said. “Furthermore, states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.”
There was no correlation found between attitudes about children’s safety around guns and the amount of gunshot wounds that children suffered. The study authors have speculated that the amount of gunshot wounds and deaths among children may be reduced by decreasing the amount of households that own guns. Handgun ownership reduction, the study authors say, could particularly influence a corresponding reduction in gunshot wounds and fatalities among children.
Dr. Madenci seemed to suggest that rather than centering the national gun debate on semi-automatic weapons, the conversation should turn to individual gun ownership in the home, saying, “Policies designed to reduce the number of household firearms, especially handguns, may more effectively reduce the number of gunshot injuries in children.” The state with the highest percentage of households owning guns was Montana, at 62%, while the lowest was New Jersey, at 10%.
There are many gun owners who not only disagree with the results of the study’s findings, but who advocate for children to learn about gun safety and to handle guns themselves. In a Youtube video entitled “options for your child’s first firearm,” gun enthusiast Barry L. exhibits guns that children can “grow into.” A commenter who appears to be filming the video explains about one gun: “what’s nice about that gun is that, of course, if Daddy has the big version, it’s real easy for Junior to get the hang of it.” Barry L. then moves on to another gun, explaining: “if you have a little girl in the family, they make one with a pink handle…it’s a pretty little thing.” The commenter goes on to say “it’s always a good idea to get your youngster involved in shooting at a young age.”
It is clear to see that while a news study shows as the number of homes with guns increases, the more child gunshot wounds and deaths occur, many gun enthusiasts may not be quick to accept the results of the study as fact. Past studies, including one that came out earlier this year, have also linked more gun owership to more gun fatalities overall. Other studies have found no correlation between gun control measures and any reduction in gun violence.
By: Rebecca Savastio