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article imageAccidental gun deaths of children under-reported across America

By Dawn Denmar     Sep 29, 2013 in World
The New York Times yesterday highlighted shocking under-reporting of accidental gun deaths of children in America. The newspaper compiled a report on this problem going back to 1999 which highlights inaccuracies in official statistics quoted.
The New York Times investigated child shootings and tried to identify every firearm accident resulting in the death of a child under the age of 14 in Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio and North Carolina dating back to 1999. The investigation only went back to 2007 in California, but also looked at medical examiners' records for Florida, Texas and Illinois. The newspaper recorded 259 child gun deaths from accidental causes during this investigation. In four of the five states investigated the Times found twice the amount of accidental killings recorded in federal data. In the fifth state there were 50 percent more accidental deaths.
The New York Daily News also reported on what it calls this "American epidemic" of child gun deaths back in July of this year. The report claimed accidental gun deaths of children to be under-reported by up to 90 percent.
This undercount is a result of peculiarities in medical and coroners' rulings which often state cause of death as homicide. An example of a child's death reported as homicide happened In Bexar County, Texas, where a nine-month-old was accidentally killed in his crib by his two-year-old brother who opened a dresser drawer, grabbed a pistol and shot his infant brother. The New York Times story highlights a number of similar family tragedies, with around 60 percent of the shootings involving handguns and half of the accidents taking place in the child's own home.
While these statistics continue to be undercounted, it's not surprising that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun lobbyists are able to cite more children killed by environmental factors, falls or poisoning than by accidental firearm shootings. Most of these child deaths are entirely preventable and are the result of children shooting other children or themselves, highlighting the accessibility of guns within the American culture and homes.
With nearly 40 percent of American households possessing guns and boys in particular showing extreme fascination for these lethal objects, perhaps the question of the right to defend one's property from attack should be turned on its head and a further question posed on the rights of children to live in safety in their own homes.
More about accidental gun death, children's gun deaths, NRA, accidental firearm deaths
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