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Firearm-Related Death and Injury Among Children and Adolescents

NCJ Number
Future of Children Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: Summer/Fall 2002 Pages: 25-37
Lois A. Fingerhut; Katherine Kaufer Christoffel
Date Published
13 pages
This document analyzes trends and current status in firearm death and injury.
Firearm death rates among children and youth have declined dramatically since 1993. The rise and fall of youth firearm homicides reflects a poorly understood interplay of factors but suggests that modifiable factors affect firearm death rates. These may include changes in firearm ownership, storage, or carrying rates and practices, as well as police enforcement measures. But the current rates remain high compared with historical rates in the United States and rates in other developed nations. A majority of these deaths are homicides. Particularly at risk for firearm death are adolescents, boys, minority youth, and those residing outside the Northeast. The problem is most acute among Black teenage males. Firearm injuries are much more likely to result in death than are other injuries for which children and youth visit emergency departments. A concerted effort is called for to reduce youth firearm deaths to levels comparable to those of other industrialized nations. To reduce firearm deaths and injuries among children, it will be necessary to develop a broad repertoire of approaches--in the public health, criminal justice, and educational spheres. Improved data systems are recommended to track firearm injury and death so researchers can better analyze these incidents and evaluate intervention strategies. Better data systems would integrate data from a variety of existing sources, such as vital statistics, health care systems, and the criminal justice system. 6 figures, 1 table, 29 endnotes, appendix