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Gun Safety

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  1. Firearm Safety Firearm Safety Michael P. Hirsh, M.D., FAACP.

  2. Types of Firearms Types of Firearms • Handgun - a firearm that is held and • fired with one hand • Rifle -A firearm with a rifled bore, • designed to be fired from the • shoulder. An artillery piece or • naval gun with spiral grooves. • Shotgun -a light, smooth-bored gun, • often double-barreled, • specially designed for firing • small shot at short range, and • killing small game.

  3. Epidemiology Epidemiology Firearm Injury Statistics • Everyday 11 people under 19 are killed by firearms. • 1968 to 1991 study, firearm-related deaths in 1991 • exceeded the number of motor vehicle related deaths • in the United States. • Firearm related injuries are the second leading cause • of death for children ages 10-14 yrs. • It is estimated that the number of children sustaining • non-fatal firearm injuries is four to five times greater • than the number of children who die from such • injuries each year. • Handguns account for the majority of firearm related • injuries in the United States.

  4. Epidemiology Cont’d Epidemiology Continued Firearm Prevalence Statistics • Approximately 50% of all US homes have a firearm. • Over 50% of handguns are stored loaded or with the ammunition. • Keeping a gun in the home increases the chances of a homicide by three times and increases the chances of a suicide by five times. • A gun kept in a household is 43 times more likely to kill someone that the family knows than to kill someone in self-defense. • 77% of violent deaths in schools are caused by firearms.

  5. Firearm Facts in Children Firearm Exposure in Children • Children watch an average of 45 violent acts on TV each day. • Playing with toy guns may contribute to unintentional shootings.

  6. Cost to Healthcare Cost to Healthcare • In 1994, the mean cost per injury due to gunshots was approximately $17,000. • The injuries due to gunshots in 1994 alone, created a projected $2.3 billion in medical costs over a lifetime. • Of the $2.3 billion, $1.1 billion will be paid by taxpayers.

  7. Cost of Prevention Cost of Prevention • Not having a gun in the house $0 • Trigger locks for guns $10 • Lockable cabinet $30 -$50 • Home firearm safety training $50-$100 • Fire-resistant safe $1500 • Preventing a child death . . . Priceless

  8. Firearm Injuries are Preventable Firearm Injuries Are Preventable

  9. Firearm Safety Tips Keep Children Safe • Parents and gun manufacturers need to take responsibility for safety. • Research shows that telling children not to touch guns does not work.

  10. Firearm Safety Tips Firearm Safety Tips • Don’t buy a gun unless you know how to use it safely. • Store it unloaded and locked up. • Lock it out of children’s reach. • Lock up ammunition separately from the gun. • Keep trigger locks on your guns for extra prevention, or disassemble your gun completely.

  11. For Further Information Gun Buyback Programs • Raise awareness about gun violence • Demonstrate the need for home gun safety

  12. For Further Information For Further Information Contact: • American Academy of Pediatrics at • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at

  13. References References For Further Information • Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. Children & guns: a lethal combination. Washington: The Center; 2000. • American Academy of Pediatrics, • Stennies G, Ikeda R, Leadbetter S, Houston B, Sacks J. Firearm storage practices and children in the home, United States, 1994. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1999;153: 586-90. • Cummings P, Grossman DC, Rivara FP, Koepsell TD. State gun storage laws and child mortality due to firearms. JAMA 1997;278:1084-6. • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, • Harruff RC. So-called accidental firearm fatalities in children and teenagers in Tennessee, 1961-1988. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1992;13:290-8. • Effectiveness in disease and injury prevention: deaths resulting from firearm- and motor-vehicle-related injuries-United States, 1968-1991. MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep 1994;43:37-42.