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September 1987

Firearms in the Home

Author Affiliations

1562 Blue Jay Way Los Angeles, CA 90069

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(9):939. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460090016006

Sir.—Patterson and Smith1 queried 200 families with children about the presence of guns at home. Fifty-seven of the 150 respondents had a gun at home. Of these 57 families, 10% kept the gun loaded, not locked up, and in reach of the children. In none of the families had a child been hurt by guns. On the basis of these data, the authors urge physicians to make parents aware of firearm safety, which is surely an excellent idea. They go on, however, to ask that the need for guns at home be reconsidered and that physicians be more active in pressing for new gun-control laws.

The authors allude to physicians' efforts on behalf of laws regarding child restraints, poisoning prevention, and flammable fabrics. Suppose that 90% of drivers used child restraints; instead of offering congratulations, would the authors press for restrictions on private ownership of automobiles? Suppose 90%

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