professionals and many others are concerned about the increasing
numbers of children and adolescents killed by firearms. The
following statistics were taken from the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention and the Center to Prevent Hand Gun
injuries are the second leading cause of death for young
people, 10 to 24 years of age. For every child killed four
1994, nearly 90% of homicide victims 15 to 19 are killed
with a firearm.
violent deaths in schools, 77% are caused by firearms.
50% of all homes in the United States contain a firearm,
and over 50% of handguns in homes are loaded.
1996, more than 1,300 children aged 10-19 committed suicide
cannot gun-proof our children and adolescents. Children
are playful and active. Adolescents are curious and impulsive.
Such healthy traits when mixed with guns can cause death.
best way to protect children against gun violence is to remove
all guns from the home. If guns are kept in the home,
there will always be dangers. The following actions are crucial
to lessen the dangers:
Even if parents
don't own a gun, they should check with parents at other places
where their children play, to make sure safety precautions are
followed. In a study of accidental handgun shootings of children
under 16, nearly 40% of the shootings occurred in the homes
of friends and relatives. The tragedies occurred most often
when children were left unsupervised.
all firearms unloaded and uncocked in a securely locked
container. Only the parents should know where the container
the guns and ammunition in separate locked locations
a revolver, place a padlock around the top strap of the
weapon to prevent the cylinder from closing, or use a trigger
lock; for a pistol, use a trigger lock
handling or cleaning a gun, never leave it unattended, even
for a moment; it should be in your view at all times
use alcohol and also have a gun available, the risk for violence
rapidly increases. In a youth suicide study, victims who used
firearms were about five times more likely to have been drinking
than those who used other means. In a study of firearm-associated
murders among family members, almost 90% of the offenders
and victims had used alcohol or drugs before the killings.
American child witnesses an increasing number of acts of violence
each day on TV, in movies, and through computer games. Most
involve firearms. Children often imitate what they see, and
are more aggressive after extensive viewing of violence on
TV, in movies and videos, and/or playing violent computer
video or arcade games. Parents should help protect their children
from the effects of media violence. For example, they can
watch TV, movies, and videos with children; ration TV; and
disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children,
stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way
to resolve a problem.
and adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems may
be more likely than other children to use guns, against themselves
or others. Parents who are concerned that their child is too
aggressive or might have an emotional disorder may wish to
seek an evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
about gun safety issues and guidelines is available from the
to Prevent Handgun Violence
or at their
1225 I Street, N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20005
information see Facts for Families:
#10 Teen Suicide
#13 Children and TV Violence
#40 The Influence of Music and Music Videos
#55 Understanding Violent Behavior in Children, and
#65 Children's Threats: When Are They Serious.
See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your
Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).
#37 Updated 05/00
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
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American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists
who are physicians with at least five years of additional
training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child
and adolescent psychiatry.
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