Gun Safety Statistics

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                                Gun Safety Statistics
To assist the media in writing about gun safety in conjunction with the MMother’s Day Million Mom
March, the peaceCENTER has compiled these statistics. More information can be found on the Million
Mom March web site,

                                     Slightly more than half of all
GUNS AT HOME                         privately owned firearms are
                                     stored unlocked. Sixteen per-
Guns kept in the home for self-      cent are stored unlocked and              Between 1980 and 1994, the
protection are 43 times more         loaded.                                   overall suicide rate for persons
likely to kill someone you know      National Institute of Justice, May,       age 15-19 increased by 29
than to kill in self-defense.        1997                                      percent. Firearm-related suicides
Kellerman A., New England                                                      accounted for 96 percent of the
Journal of Medicine, 1986            One out of three handguns is              increase in the overall suicide
                                     kept loaded and unlocked in the           rate.
Guns kept in homes are 22 times      home.                                     National Summary of Injury Mortal-
more likely to be involved in        Police Foundation, 1996                   ity Data, 1987-1994. Atlanta, GA:
unintentional shootings, crimi-                                                Centers for Disease Control and
nal assaults, homicides and          90% of all unintentional shooting         Prevention, Nation Center for Injury
suicide attempts than to be          deaths of juveniles are done              Prevention and Control, November
involved in injuring or killing in   within a home - 50% in the                1996
self defense.                        victim’s own home and 40% in
Kellermann, et al. Injuries and      the home of a relative or friend.         The risk of suicide for 15-19 year
deaths due to firearms in the        Center to Prevent Handgun                 olds is five times greater for
home. Journal of Trauma, 1998; 45    Violence, July, 1988                      those living in a home with guns.
(2):263-267.                                                                   Centers for Disease Control, cited
                                     Nine out of ten parents reported          in New England Journal of Medi-
In 60% of fatal accidents involv-    they would not let their child            cine, 1992
ing a firearm, the weapon was        visit or play in a home if they
located near the home.               knew it had a loaded gun that             In one study in Oregon, 78.2%
 -General Accounting Office Report   was not locked away.                      of all suicide attempts with
on Accident Shootings, 1991.         Johns Hopkins University, 1998            firearms were fatal but only 0.4%
                                                                               of suicide attempts by drug
State Child Access Prevention        According to a 1996 Louis Harris          overdose were fatal.
(CAP) laws require gun owners        Poll, more than half of the teens         Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
living in households with minor      (53%) who live in homes where             Report, April 28, 1994
children to store and lock their     there is a handgun or rifle
guns and keep them out of the        believe that if they wanted to,
reach of children. Currently,        they could get the weapon
only 15 states have CAP laws.        without their parents’ knowl-

Gun Safety Statistics - Page 2 of 2
                                      In 1996 handguns were used to
DEATH & INJURY                        murder 2 people in New Zealand,
                                                                           35 % of children ages 6 to 12
                                                                           fear that their lives will be cut
                                      15 in Japan, 30 in Great Britain,
Between 1979 and 1997,                                                     short by gun violence.
                                      106 in Canada, 213 in Germany
gunfire killed nearly 80,000                                               Harris Poll, 1993
                                      and 9,390 in the United States.
children and teens in America —                                            The notion that most gun vio-
                                      Handgun Control, Inc., 1998.
25,000 more than the total                                                 lence is drug related is a myth:
                                      Information aggregated from the
number of American soldiers                                                the FBI reports that drug crimes
                                      U.S. Department of Justice and
killed in battle in Vietnam.                                               and gang killings each account
                                      national police agencies.
Firearms wounded an additional                                             for approximately 6% of gun-
320,000 children during this          Nearly three times as many           related homicides in 1995.
same period.                          children under 10 died from
Children’s Defense Fund, 2000         gunfire as the number of law
                                      enforcement officers killed in the
                                                                           GUN OWNERSHIP
In 1996, 13 children, age 19 and      line of duty.
younger, were killed with guns        Children’s Defense Fund, 2000        All of the guns in the possession
every day in this country [and                                             of Kip Kinkel, who killed or
for every child killed, four are      According to a 1993 Harris poll,     injured 24 students in 1998, were
wounded].                             14% of all adults and 16% of all     legal for a 15-year-old in Oregon
National Center for Health Statis-    parents report knowing "a child      to own. (A .22 caliber semiauto-
tics, 1996.                           who was found playing with a         matic rifle, a Glock pistol and a
American children are twelve          gun that was loaded." 12% of all     .22 caliber handgun)
                                      adults and 15% of all parents        Peter Elikann, Superpredators: The
times more likely to die from gun
                                      report knowing "a child who          Demonization of our Children by
injuries than are youngsters in
                                      accidentally shot himself or         the Law (1999)
all other industrialized nations
                                      herself with a gun."
combined.                                                                  Thirty-nine percent of house-
ABA Criminal Justice, July, 1998      In Atlanta, when a gun was           holds in the U.S. have at least
                                      involved in domestic violence,       one gun and 24 percent contain
In 1995, there were 35,957            death was twelve times more          a handgun.
firearm-related deaths. These         likely. Overwhelmingly, it was the   Johns Hopkins Center for Gun
included 18,503 firearm-related       woman who died.                      Policy and Research, 1997/98
suicides, 15,835 firearm-related      Centers for Disease Control and
homicides, 1,225 unintentional        Prevention                           Since 1980, domestic production
deaths gun-firearm related                                                 of pistols has more than
deaths, 394 unknown.
Centers for Disease Control and       CRIME                                doubled, while domestic produc-
                                                                           tion of rifles and shotguns has
Prevention, 1997                                                           been cut 30% and 12% respec-
                                      In a ten-year period between         tively.
Gun related deaths are the            1984 and 1993, the firearm
second leading cause of injury        homicide rate for persons be-        Between 1985 and 1994, an
death in the United States. In        tween the ages of 15 and 24          average of 274,000 guns were
1996, there were 34,040 gun-          increased 158 percent.               reported stolen to the FBI each
related deaths-over 90 deaths         Snyder, H. Juvenile Arrests 1997.    year.
every day.                            Bulletin. Washington, DC: OJJDP,
National Vital Statistics Reports.
1998; 47(9)
                                      Of all homicides in 1996, 68
                                                                           GUNS IN SCHOOL
                                      percent occurred by firearm.
In 1997, there were only 190                                               According to a report issued by
                                      Among young black males, 91
justifiable handgun homicides                                              the Department of Education,
                                      percent of homicides occurred
by private citizens in the United                                          over 6,000 students were ex-
                                      by firearm.
States.                                                                    pelled in 1996-97 for bringing
                                      Peters KD, Kichanek, KD, Murphy
Handgun Control, Inc.                                                      guns to their public schools.
                                      SL. Deaths: Final data for 1996.
More than twice as many U.S.          National Vital Statistics Reports.
                                      1998; 47(9)                          School is the safest place for
women are shot and killed by                                               children to be. 99 percent of all
their husbands or lovers than by                                           violent youth deaths take place
strangers.                                                                 outside of school.
Ms. Magazine, 1994                                                         Justice Policy Institute Report, July,

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