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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Guns and children: ABC takes a discomfiting look

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 7:27 AM

click to enlarge KIDS' CURIOSITY: Overcomes gun safety training
  • KIDS' CURIOSITY: Overcomes gun safety training

ABC News has been running a series of reports leading to a longer piece on one of its news magazine shows about the prevalence of guns in American homes with children and the danger they present.

Striking last night was a piece on a class of elementary kids taught gun safety and taught not to touch a gun but report it to an adult if they saw one. Then came the hidden camera experiment — children alone with unloaded guns placed in a classroom to test how well the lesson had been learned. Not very well. Two children looked down the barrels of the guns and toyed with them before one decided to call for adult help. Mothers looked on in horror. From the report:

On average, a child is treated in an emergency room every hour for a gunshot wound. That's more than 7,000 annually, from assaults and accidents.

More than one child dies every day from gunshot wounds.

One in three American homes has a gun. Research indicates 1.7 million children live in homes with unlocked and loaded firearms.

Are children in these homes safer because of the presene of guns? What wounds those children when accidents happen? Not the guns, the NRA and its supporters tell us.

The figures come from Pediatrics, a journal at Yale University. 

“These data highlight the toll of gun-related injuries that extends beyond high-profile cases, and those children and adolescents who die before being hospitalized. Pediatricians and other health care providers can play an important role in preventing these injuries through counseling about firearm safety, including safe storage,” said Leventhal, who points to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations that the safest home for a child is a home without guns, and, if there is a gun in the home, that it must be stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately. 

Yale is a private institution. So it is more immune from gun lobby pressure. Study of  guns and public health  prompted the NRA to make Congress restrict funding for Centers for Disease Control research into gun violence. The NRA thinks gun safety is not a public health issue. Which might come as a surprise to those 7,000 wounded children and the families of the 453 children killed. The gun advocates are already fulminating, complaining that the journal inflated the number killed or injured to 10,000 by including youths aged 18 and 19.  Who needs facts when you have faith. It is time for mandatory gun ownership and gun availability in every venue, public and private. THEN we'll all be safer, right? Arkansas, based on prominent Republican lawmakers' thinking, should be a leader in this effort. The law should require that guns be loaded and unlocked, too. What's the good of an unloaded, locked-down gun when you need to shoot an intruder?

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