Guns or Children?

candlesHow much are our guns worth?  1,400 child deaths per year?  10,000 children wounded annually?[1]

It’s time we addressed the public health problem of guns.  Homicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, and the fourth-leading cause among 5- to 14-year-olds.  Overwhelmingly, guns are the weapons used in these killings.[2]

The arguments for and against gun control have been rehashed far too many times to give us much hope for meaningful policy changes.  But it is undeniable that guns are deadly weapons too easily used by those who have no legitimate reason for them.  How many guns do we have in the U.S.?  One estimate puts it at 270 million,[3] or nearly four guns for every American child.

Gun Violence

Some Americans view gun ownership as a civil right, perhaps second only in importance to religious expression.   While few gun owners will ever use them against another person, we often hear the argument that a gun provides its owner with a sense of security.  However, there is little evidence that owning guns makes anyone more safe.  In fact, where there are more gun-owning households, after controlling for a number of demographic factors, local homicide rates are greater.[4]

So what will it take to loosen our grip on guns?

-David Murphey
Senior Scientist

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1  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS).  Fatal injuries are firearm-related, ages 0-17, for 2009.  Non-fatal injuries are firearm-related, ages 0-17, seen in hospital emergency department, for 2010.

2 Child Trends DataBank. (2012). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm deaths.

3 Civilian-owned firearms.

4 Miller, M., Azrael, D., Hemenway, D. (2007). State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine, 64, 656-64.


Filed under Children

9 responses to “Guns or Children?

  1. Randee Kaitcer


  2. RK

    According to statistics there are 250,000 kids injured each year, approximately 2,000 die from their injuries from a car. hmmm maybe we should stop driving a car and everyone take a bus or ride their bikes. Kills so many children.

  3. RK

    Also, stop the swimming. It is killing our children.

    Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14.
    Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.
    Male children have a drowning rate more than two times that of female children. However, females having a bathtub drowning rate twice that of males.
    Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools.
    Four-sided fencing that isolates the pool from the house and the yard has shown to decrease the number of drowning injuries anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.
    More than half of drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.
    Portable pools make up 11% of all pool drownings for children under age 5.
    Nonfatal drownings can result in brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
    Nineteen percent of child drowning fatalities take place in public pools with certified lifeguards on duty.
    Roughly 5,000 children 14 and under go to the hospital because of accidental drowning-related incidents each year; 15% die and about 20% suffer from permanent neurological disability

  4. RK

    I do believe that having background checks on people who purchase guns is needed. I think that it should be put on drivers license and should have to be re-validated every 2 years. Taking guns away isn’t going to help. Unfortunately if people want to kill people they will.

    • Judy Reidt-Parker

      here in the US it is much easier to kill others than in our counterpart nations. We need to make it MUCH more difficult to own weapons of mass murder. People who collect other things in the obsessive way some collect guns are called hoarders, and it is a diagnosed mental illness. But with guns, these people are called “enthusiasts” or “avid collectors.” Enough already. Having a personal arsenal of weapons is hoarding and should be treated like the mental illness it is.

  5. RR

    Let’s not forget child abuse. More than 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse. That surpasses the number killed by guns. There are 3.3 million reported cases annually.

    The gun isn’t at fault for what has happened.

  6. Pingback: Gun Control: Why? | Adopting Special Needs

  7. Jason Harper

    Communist propaganda at its finest!! Trying to disarm us against a socialist takeover. Firearms protect our children. Parents need to teach proper handling and safety. People respect firearms when taught too. People died to give us our rights. In the Marines we learned our proud history and the cost that was paid by our ancestors for our freedom. Hitler disarmed the Jews. How did that work out for them or Poland? How many children could have been saved? Please don’t let sad actions blind us from these sites true intentions. Socialism doesn’t work out people. Check your history. It doesn’t work because it’s evil. Not because it hasn’t been done properly. I am sorry for the children and their families. It’s horrible. But the person had no morals. People need to start teaching kids love and respect not self gratification.

  8. Guns, child abuse – we are ranking the symptoms – we need to look at the causes. This will undoubtedly take time and contemplation – but America’s mental health is declining daily. What’s the choice? The question is whether America is ready to seek remedies that can give us vibrant health or if we as a nation will become as gridlocked as our politics.

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