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June 14, 1995

Firearm Training and Storage

Author Affiliations

Doctors for Integrity in Research and Public Policy San Ramon, Calif

JAMA. 1995;273(22):1733. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460015006

To the Editor.  —The article entitled "Firearm Training and Storage" by Dr Hemenway and colleagues1 wrongfully equated all loaded, unlocked guns with risk of accident (ie, unintentional gunshot injury), suicide, and homicide. The authors did not distinguish among adult-only homes in which guns may be safely stored loaded and accessible, homes in which the threat of attack outweighs the risk of gun accident, and homes in which the danger of a loaded accessible gun is great. Interestingly, the authors failed to mention the most striking fact about gun accidents: that whatever the storage habits of gun owners, gun accident fatality rates have been falling steadily since 1903 and now hover at an all-time low.2 For perspective, about 140 innocent children die at home from gun accidents annually,2 compared with a tragedy that is 1300 times greater—the 180 000 Americans who die from physicians' negligence each year.3

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