Posted by: maboulette | October 24, 2011

FIREARMS AND OUR YOUTH

gun

The number of children unintentionally shot and killed each year in the United States could fill acommercial airliner. In 2003, 102 children and teens aged 17 years of age or younger were killed by firearms unintentionally – more than 8 children every month, or one child every four days. For this age group, in 2003 an additional 805 youth were killed in firearm homicides, and 377 took their own lives in firearm suicides. More than four times this number of children is treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year for non-fatal gunshot wounds. Taken together, these numbers add up to a Columbine massacre every four days for America’s youth. 

After motor vehicle deaths, firearms are the second leading cause of death among all teenagers. International comparisons starkly illustrate the effect of guns on America’s youth.  A 1997 study analyzing firearm deaths for children aged 14 years or younger in 26 industrialized countries found that 86 percent of the deaths occurred in the United States and that compared to the other countries, the firearms homicide rate alone was 16 times higher for American children, the firearms suicide rate 11 times higher, and the firearms unintentional death rate nine times higher. 

And while many worry over youth access to firearms, in the wake of decreasing gun ownership and shrinking markets, the gun lobby and firearms industry have targeted America’s youth as young as four and five years old. Their goal is to ensure continued sales and hoped-for foot soldiers for the gun control battles that lie ahead. 

As an ad from New England Firearms on the cover of Shooting Sports Retailer warned in 1998: “It’s not `who your customers will be in five years.’ It’s will there be any customers left.’” The cover shows a family out in a field shooting, with the parents slowly fading away as a child aims a long gun. A full-page ad from the company warns: “The greatest threat to the firearms business may not be the anti-gunners. It is a future which lacks gun owners and users due to a lack of interest. In effect, [the] greatest threat we face is the lack of a future customer base for the products which we all sell.” 


Responses

  1. I know for a fact that gun ownership IS NOT currently on the decline in the USA. In fact, gun sales have increased drastically since Obama was elected and will increase even more if he is reelected. The majority of guns that I own will increase in value by approximately 50% the Wednesday after election day should he be reelected. But that aside, what do you propose we should do with regard to children and guns? In Texas, we have strict law with regard to a child’s access to a readily dischargable firearm. On the other hand, we have bold laws that allow a child to access a readily discharable firearm [absent permission from the owner of the firearm] in defense of himself, another person, and personal property under certain circumstances.


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