Publication Date: February 2002
Publisher: Journal of Trauma
Author(s): Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD; Deborah Azrael, MS; David Hemenway, PhD
Research Area: Health; Population and demographics; Social conditions
Keywords: gun violence; youth homicides; minors ; suicides
Coverage: United States
In the United States, only motor vehicle crashes and cancer claim more lives among children than do firearms. This national study attempts to determine whether firearm prevalence is related to rates of unintentional firearm deaths, suicides, and homicides among children. Using data from 1988 -1997, this study estimates the association between the rate of violent deaths among 5-14 year olds and four proxies of firearm availability across states and regions.
It finds that a statistically significant association exists between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, and suicides. The elevated rates of suicide and homicide among children living in states with more guns is not entirely explained by a state's poverty, education, or urbanization and is driven by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal non-firearm violence.
It concludes that a disproportionately high number of 5-14 year olds died from suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm deaths in states and regions where guns were more prevalent.