American Academy of Pediatrics study claims firearm injuries to kids underestimated

by Tom Wert

On October 17, at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in Boston Massachusetts an abstract was presented providing an overview of injuries to youths ages 0-19 resulting from incidents involving firearms. Although the study has not, at the time of this writing, yet appeared in a peer reviewed journal, the American Academy of Pediatrics is nonetheless using the findings to further the failed notion that gun control and gun regulation will solve the problem.

According to CBS News' coverage of the conference, the recommendations of the AAP include many of the same tired demands we have heard over and over; bans of handguns and "assault" weapons, doctors questioning parents about gun ownership, safety and design regulations, etc., etc.

Certainly anytime youth are injured or killed it is a tragedy. But are guns the problem, or is a culture of ignorance and violence to blame?

The study which examined emergency department visits for firearms injuries from 1999 to 2007 shows that 63% of firearms injuries and fatalities to youths were intentional. That is a very sad finding, but not unexpected. It doesn't take more than a quick internet search to discover headlines reporting violent acts, often drug and gang related, that result in the injury or death to a young person. Violence is not the result of the presence of a firearm, and no manner of gun control can address the problem of violence against youths.

Thirty-seven percent of the injuries documented in the AAP study were categorized as unintentional. Of course accidents happen, and when a firearm is involved the consequences can be devastating. But accidents happen with all manner of items and activities.

According to Center for Disease Control data, during the same time period as the AAP study unintentional drowning in youths 0-19 resulted in 10,319 fatalities. This is more than 3 times the number of unintentional deaths in incidents involving firearms (3,096) and in fact more than the total number (8,368) of fatalities presented in the AAP study. But it is unlikely that we will see the AAP calling for a ban on swimming pools, bath tubs, or waterfront properties anytime soon.

CDC data also show that motor vehicles accounted for 67,488 unintentional deaths between 1999 and 2007. Perhaps we should ban all cars too? Of course these are ridiculous notions. Banning guns is too.

Rather than keep our kids away from guns, maybe we should get more guns in the hands of our kids. By that, of course, I mean to insist our kids are experienced handlers of firearms. Rather than removing all guns from our homes, as the AAP has called for, perhaps a better strategy is to insist our kids have healthy respect and skill in the use of firearms.

Tom Wert is a Buckeye Firearms Association Region Leader.

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