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To the Editor:—
The news item, "Report On Shooting Accidents," which appeared in The Journal, Dec. 19, page 2232, is an excellent example of statistical accuracy that can be misused to substantiate claims of anti-gun enthusiasts that are completely unwarranted by the facts.The fact that persons aged 15 to 19 constitute only 3% of the total population of the United States, while accounting for about 16% of those fatally injured in firearm accidents, is somewhat irrelevant to the question of whether or not these users might be capable of handling firearms. Much more useful data would be the frequency of accidents in 15-to-19-year-olds in proportion to the total number of man-hours spent in hunting with guns. It appears extremely unlikely that 3% of women or of elderly persons in the total population spend much time with firearms. For that reason, too, a high accident rate would be expected in
Watkins C. SHOOTING ACCIDENTS. JAMA. 1960;172(8):852-853. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020080082028