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November 2005

Firearm Injury Prevention: Reasons for Optimism

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(11):1081-1082. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.11.1081

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the safest way to prevent gun injury among children is to remove guns from the places children live and play.1 Most pediatricians would agree with this statement, just as they would agree that the best way to prevent sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy among teenagers is abstinence. However, the reality is that approximately 35% of homes with children younger than 18 years have at least 1 gun and, of these, 43% contain at least 1 unlocked firearm.2 The reasons for keeping a gun in the home differ among families, but handgun owners typically keep the gun for protection while long gun ownership is associated with hunting. Suggesting the removal of firearms from the homes of those who hunt or from those who perceive that access to a gun is crucial in protecting their families may elicit resistance to any firearm risk reduction message.

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