Laws Must Provide More Protection
The recent tragic mass shooting of children in Newtown, Conn., has brought Americans to rethink usage of guns in our society. Now is a good time to examine other ways in which children are killed by firearms.
Findings from a recent Harvard University School of Public Health review of scientific research on the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home for the gun owner and his/her family have important implications for children, and also for women.
Conducted by Dr. David Hemenway, this study finds that whereas most men and older adolescents are murdered away from home, most children, older adults and women are murdered at home.
About 150 children and teenagers are unintentional firearm fatalities in the U.S. each year.
Incredibly, children ages 5 to 14 years in the United States are 11 times more likely to be killed accidentally with a gun, compared with similarly aged children in other developed countries.
The vast majority of firearms used in accidental shootings of children and teens come from the victim’s home or the home of a relative or friend.
Sadly, women in the U.S. are at far greater risk of homicide victimization than women in other developed countries, and the greatest danger for homicides of women that occur in the home comes from their intimate partners — especially partners with guns.
The Harvard study concludes that, for most Americans, the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit.
On the potential benefit side, the study finds no good evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in.
Gun laws must be crafted to provide far more protection for children and women.
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