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Keeping Children Safe Around Guns: Pitfalls and Promises

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: July-August 2006 Pages: 352-366
Majorie S. Hardy
Date Published
July 2006
15 pages
This article examines the challenges to keeping children safe around guns and argues for the problem to be reframed as a public health issue.
The vast numbers of children injured and the significant numbers of children who have access to unsecured firearms speak to the need for a renewed and refocused attention to the problem. Firearm injury prevention in children should be viewed not as a gun-control issue, the author argues, but rather as a public health issue for researchers, the medical community, and the public to confront. An injury prevention model to protecting children from firearm injury is presented as a framework for making environments safer, parents more knowledgeable, and children more resistant to injury. An injury prevention model should target education among the public using mass media campaigns, such as billboards and public service announcements. Legislative reform is called for that would make parents responsible for their children’s supervision and Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws that are enacted in some States to protect children from firearm injuries are reviewed. Evaluation research on parent and child firearm education programming is presented; the majority of findings indicate the lack of effectiveness of such programming. Most firearm injury prevention programming is implemented in schools, yet there is a lack of empirical research regarding its effectiveness. References