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February 9, 2005

Storing Guns Safely in Homes With Children and Adolescents

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr Cole is Contributing Editor, JAMA. Dr Johnson is a Yerby Fellow at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2005;293(6):740-741. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.740

The seventh leading “actual,” or preventable, cause of death in the United States in 20001 was firearm injury, ranked after tobacco, poor diet and physical activity, alcohol consumption, microbial agents, toxic agents, and motor vehicle injury, and ahead of sexual behavior and illicit drug use. Firearms are present in about one third of US households.2 Children and adolescents may be tempted to play or practice with firearms,3 and those who have access to firearms sometimes handle them without adult supervision.4 Not surprisingly, the presence of a firearm in the home is associated with an increased risk for suicide5-7; the relative risk of unintentional firearm injury is not known.