New Harvard University
Study Shows Direct Link Between Gun Availability And Gun Death Among Children
Study Ever Conducted on Impact of Gun Availability Sends Simple Message:
IT'S THE GUNS, STUPID
Top Five in Nation in Gun Ownership�Louisiana Children More Likely to
Die by Firearms Than Children in Low Gun Ownership States
WASHINGTON, DC�A new
study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) shows that children,
five to 14 years old, are dying at dramatically higher rates in states
with more guns. The article, "Firearm Availability and Unintentional Firearm
Deaths, Suicide, and Homicide among 5-14 Year Olds," appears in the current
February 2002 issue of The Journal of Trauma.
The study shows that
children living in the five states with the highest levels of gun ownership
were 16 times more likely to die from unintentional firearm injury, seven
times more likely to die from firearm suicide, and three times more likely
to die from firearm homicide than children in the five states with the
lowest levels of gun ownership. Additionally, children in the top five
gun ownership states were twice as likely to die from homicide and suicide
overall as children in the five lowest gun ownership states.
VPC Executive Director
Josh Sugarmann states, "This illustrates the pivotal role played by firearms
and disproves the false claim that if guns were not available, shooters
would simply employ other means. Most importantly, this study proves what
common sense would dictate, a greater availability of guns has dangerous
and deadly consequences. Firearms in the home pose an enormous threat
to the well-being of our nation's children."
According to the study's
authors, there are large differences in states' violent death rates among
children, and these rates are closely tied to levels of gun ownership.
The elevated rate of violent death among children in high gun ownership
states cannot be explained by differences in state levels of poverty,
education, or urbanization.
The five states with
the highest levels of gun ownership were: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi,
Arkansas, and West Virginia. The five states with the lowest levels of
gun ownership were: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and
Matthew Miller, MD,
MPH, ScD, associate director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center
at HSPH and lead author of the study, states, "In states with more guns,
more children are dying. They are dying in suicides, in homicides, and
in unintentional shootings. This finding is completely contrary to the
notion that guns are protecting our children."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Thursday, Februay 21, 2002
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105