Disarming Facts about Firearm Injuries
Emergency physicians see the tragic consequences of gun violence every day. Oftentimes, they are called upon to help innocent victims get a second chance at life. Handguns are a common consumer product in homes throughout the United States. If not handled and stored carefully, they can cause unintended death or injury.
- Firearm injuries are a major cause of premature death and disability in the United States. There were a little more than 33,000 deaths in the United States related to firearms in 2013i (excluding firearm deaths due to law enforcement intervention). There were approximately 81,000 nonfatal injuries due to guns, according to the CDC. Knowing the facts about firearms is the first step toward safety and injury prevention.
- Firearms are the second-leading cause of death due to injury after motor vehicle crashes for adults and adolescentsii.
- Approximately 300 million guns are owned by U.S. civilians, ranking the United States first among 178 countries in terms of the number of privately owned guns.
- Gun violence comes at a substantial price to our nation, with a total societal cost of $174 billion in 2010.
Every day, 48 children and teens are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings and police intervention, according to the “Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.” (More than 17,000 a year)
- 89 people die from gun violence on a daily basis, 208 are shot and survived.
What You Can Do:
- Be alert for signs of depression in friends and siblings and encourage them to talk to someone they trust.
- If guns are legally kept in your home, they should always be locked and stored separately from the ammunition.
Many unintentional shootings may have been prevented by not keeping a gun in the home, promoting safe storage of guns that are kept in the home, promoting safe handling of firearms, and requiring new handguns incorporate basic safety features.
Handguns are a common consumer product in homes throughout the United States. If not handled and stored carefully, they can cause unintended death or injury.
i. CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
ii Annals of Emergency Medicine, Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action From 8 Health Professional Organizations and the American Bar Association