Accidental gun deaths involving children are especially horrible, but they are fortunately rare. Take the last five years for which the Centers for Disease Control data are available, 2006 to 2010.
On average there were 33 accidental gun deaths per year for children under 10. Including children under 15 raises the number to 58.
Research done on cases before the CDC privacy restrictions found that most cases for those under 10 involved adults firing the gun, not children getting a hold of their parent's guns.
The real risk factor isn't whether people residing in these homes own guns, but whether violent felons live there.
Over the same five years for children under 15, accidental suffocations alone averaged 1,162 deaths per year; drownings 736; 376 children died from fires; 106 died from poisonings; 84 died from accidents while riding bicycles. For children under age 5, 70 a year drown in bathtubs.
Even worse, states that have mandated that people lock up their guns didn’t see a reduction in accidental gun deaths or suicides for children or teenagers. Instead, as guns became less accessible for self-defense, criminals became more emboldened to attack people in their homes and their crimes were more successful.Here is a link for Lott's article. It is well worth reading the entire document.
That is excellent work by John Lott. I do not agree that "gun deaths" are "especially horrible". Separating out "gun deaths" from other accidental, criminal or suicidal deaths is a linguistic trick designed to win the debate on the second amendment by definition. I am a little surprised to see John Lott falling for it. All accidental deaths of children are equally bad.
Opponents of the second amendment often lump suicides, accidents, unjustified homicides, and justified homicides all together under a chaotic rubric that they label "gun deaths". This serves to disguise their intentions. The impression is given, depending on the article, that "gun deaths" are primarily accidents, or homicides by otherwise law abiding people, which is blatantly false. The vast majority of homicides are done by people with a criminal history against people with a criminal history, a small subset of the population. This same small group takes numerous risks and is disproportionately involved in severe accidents.
It seems a little odd that we do not have any data later than 2010. That was at least three years ago, but I have not been able to find more recent data.
The article could have revolved entirely around bathtubs and swimming pools, which are involved in many more accidents fatal to children than firearms are.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch