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Our children between the ages of 5 and 14 in the U.S. are murdered with guns at a rate 13 times higher than that of other developed nations. 13 times higher, not only because we have so many handguns and assault weapons but because we care so little for our most precious resource that we refuse to enact any tough gun control legislation.

America’s gun culture is truly an American phenomenon; only in America do we love the gun more than our children. Guns are as American as apple pie and hotdogs and our gun culture is unique to America, while much of American culture has been embraced by other countries our love of the gun has not been, the love of the gun is truly American and for that we should be proud.

The love we have for our children is so twisted and deranged, that we become enraged and livid when cigarettes and alcohol are marketed to them, when toys imported from China have lead in them, but we have no qualms keeping deadly weapons filled with lead bullets in our house because that is our great American culture. Our love of the gun is greater than our love for our children.

A Pew study in 2013 reported that under half of all households (40%) have a gun. The gun owners are older adults (50 years and older), Republican, rural, and White 46% (twice as many as Black—21%--the next highest, ethnic households.) Although for many, gun ownership is a matter of culture and upbringing, for others it is fear.

Although older adults might be the owners of guns, and have guns in their household, the victims are their children--theirs and others'. Children in the U.S. get murdered with guns at a rate that is 13 times higher than that of other developed nations. For our young people aged 15 to 24, the rate is 43 times higher.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, one-third of all households with children younger than 18 have a gun, and more than 40 percent of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked.

The fund also reported that 22 percent of children with gun-owning parents handled guns in their homes without their parents’ knowledge.

The Children’s Defense Fund gets that statistic from a 2006 study conducted at an Alabama family practice clinic:

Of 420 parent-child dyads, 314 agreed to participate; 201 of the 314 homes contained guns. Children younger than 10 years were as likely as older children to report knowing the storage location (73% vs 79%, respectively) and to report having handled a household gun (36% vs 36%, respectively). Thirty-nine percent of parents who reported that their children did not know the storage location of household guns and 22% of parents who reported that their children had never handled a household gun were contradicted by their children’s reports. Such discordance between parent and child reports was unrelated to whether parents stored their firearms locked away or had ever discussed firearm safety with their children.

CONCLUSIONS:
Many parents who were living in homes with firearms and who reported that their children had never handled firearms in their homes were contradicted by their children’s self-reports. Parents who locked their guns away and discussed gun safety with their children were as likely to be contradicted as parents who did not take such safety measures.

I realize that it’s a stretch to apply that exact stat to the general gun-owning population, but until better data is available, we cannot ignore this finding, which not only means your own guns might not be safe from your kids, but even non-gun-owner’s kids aren’t safe when they’re at someone else’s house (or even near it,). Even if you do everything right, or decide not to even own a gun, your kids might already have handled guns without your knowledge.

Really what is the benefit of gun ownership other than the psychology—but not the reality—of feeling safe? In the USA the reality is that the health risk of having a gun in the home is greater than any other benefit. Gun ownership is killing our children.

Originally posted to Carrie Larson on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 03:13 AM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, and Firearms Law and Policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Other civilized countries are appalled w,America's (6+ / 0-)

    disregard for their children. Guns, lack of health care, lack of support from absent fathers poor schools --- the list goes on and on of how we fail our children.

  •  What is meant by "locked away"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    As teenagers, we easily defeated my parents' locked liquor cabinet.  Gun safe? Not so much.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 06:05:52 AM PDT

  •  Rural areas should have a higher murder rate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, FrankRose

    The murder rate in rural areas should be pretty high and there should be more accidental firearms deaths in rural areas, right?

    The Obama administration says that the murder rate in rural areas is 65% of what it is in Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:40:58 AM PDT

    •  There are if you count suicide as self murder (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      Of if you think that many suicides are tragic accidental  decisions that take a moment of unbearably severe mental distress and/or cognitive dysfunction and turn into into a violent traumatic event for the deceased and all the survivors.

      If you believe all the suicidal shootings reflect a healthy rural gun culture, then there is really something different about rural gun culture in America compared to gun culture elsewhere.

      I grew up in the country with guns in the house and was taught to shoot straight at the age of 10. The cost of suicides are born by the survivors. Teens are especially at risk from unsecured firearms in the home.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 09:27:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not murder but certainly gun related "accidents" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber

      I would expect would be higher in rural areas.

      I don't think that people with guns are necessarily murderous, but the more guns around, the more accidents you will find.

      Why do you think the rural areas should have a high murder rate?  Seems kind of bigoted of you.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:58:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the template you propose. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankRose, DaveinBremerton

    Im sure no one would try and apply it to other legal behaviors, though. Aren't you?

    Really what is the benefit of [this legal behavior] other than the psychology—but not the reality—of [the behavior]? In the USA the reality is that the health risk of [this behavior]
    is greater than any other benefit. [This behavior] is killing our [some demographic]. [So make the behavior illegal]
  •  Objects which cause a higher rate of mortality: (0+ / 0-)

    Motor Vehicles: 8.1 per 100,000
    Strangulation: 1.5
    Drowning: 1.3
    Poisoning: 1.2
    Fire/Burns: 0.7
    Firearms: 0.2

    Just to clarify, Cars are responsible for over 40 times as many accidental fatalities.
    Strangulation is responsible for over 7 times as many
    Drowning, over 6 times
    Poison, 6 times
    Fire, over 3 times.

    Deaths by accidental/negligent discharge are exceedingly rare.

    Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

    by FrankRose on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:00:53 AM PDT

  •  The Talisman of the Gun (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, coquiero, Glen The Plumber

    The gun is a talisman: an inanimate object that is believed to give special powers to those who possess it.

    Gun enthusiasts believe the gun gives them special powers to be safe and protected.

    In actual fact, having a gun increases the risk of injury and death.  Empiric studies have shown that men who live in home where there is a gun are twice as likely to die due to a gun homicide than are men who live in a home where there is no gun.  Women who live in a home where there is a gun are three times more likely to die of a gun homicide than women who live in a home where there is no gun.  Men who live in a home where there is a gun are seven times more likely to die by gun suicide than men who live in a home where there is not gun.

    It is NOT true that American as a whole love their guns more than they do children.  It IS true that our law-makers prefer the money they get from the gun industry and their own positions of power more than they do our children.  Shame on our law-makers and the gun industry for favoring the profits of the gun industry over the health and safety of our children.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:29:39 AM PDT

    •  Or....it's a tool & a right to possess (0+ / 0-)

      It seems to me that it is gun controllers that have an opinion of guns that border on supernatural.
      Just look at the proposed AWB. All rifles combined are used in half the number of murders than even bare hands are ('Assault Weapons' are a subset of rifles).

      "having a gun increases the possibility of death"
      Then don't own one.

      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

      by FrankRose on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - it is a tool and a right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, coquiero, Glen The Plumber

        I agree entirely; guns are a tool, and owning a gun is a right.

        BUT, it is equally true that owning a gun increases your risk of having a gunshot injury, AND increases the risk of injury for others around you (like cigarettes and "second-hand smoke").

        It is the gun owners who mistakenly think that a gun gives them protection who have the supernatural beliefs

        Because I do not want to increase my risk for a gunshot injury, I do not own a gun.  And indeed, I am actually safer because I do not own a gun than I would be if I had a gun.

        Now that you know the facts, you are of course free to make your own decisions.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good. (0+ / 0-)

          Let's keep it that way.

          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

          by FrankRose on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 12:01:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Choose not to propagate bs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, LilithGardener

            You are free to make your own decisions.

            I of course cannot stop you (and do not want to stop you) if you freely decide to possess a gun, knowing that doing so increases your risk for gunshot injury.

            But I have a problem with gun enthusiasts who falsely claim that having a gun makes you safer.  This is not true.  Tho' I cannot stop gun enthusiasts who make such false claims, I can and will refute such bs.

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:45:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So you don't support the AWB or magazine bans? (0+ / 0-)

              Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

              by FrankRose on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:09:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What I support (3+ / 0-)

                I recognize that our constitution give us the right to own and use guns.  I do not agree that the constitution gives us unlimited use of any and all weapons.

                I support and advocate:
                1) ALL gun licensee should demonstrate they have received training in gun use and safety.
                2) ALL gun licensees should demonstrate they have a liability insurance policy to cover liabilities arising from their ownership/use of a gun.
                3) Increased tax on gun and bullet sales to help offset medical costs borne by tax-payers from gunshot injuries and deaths.
                4) For any shooting incident, police should be directed to hold the gun owner/shooter until blood and urine samples can be collected for alcohol and drug testing.
                5) Background checks on ALL firearm purchases, including private sales
                6) Limit legal gun sales to breech-loading rifles and pistols, revolver-type handguns, semi-automatic handguns with a capacity less than ten bullets, long rifles with a caliber less than 0.45, semi-automatic assault style guns with a capacity of less than ten bullets, and shotguns.  Anyone who wants/needs more firepower should agree to join a branch of the military to learn about and use those weapons under strict supervision.

                "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:29:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thus, you are in favor of banning guns. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

                  Banning a lot of guns, in fact.

                  Good luck with that.

                  Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                  by FrankRose on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:56:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The US ALREADY bans guns (0+ / 0-)

                    Under current US law, many guns are banned.  Not just sale of those guns, but use as well.

                    The law works just fine - the society does not collapse because many guns are banned.

                    You are living in a gun fantasy world.

                    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 06:29:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No.....I'm living in the current USA (0+ / 0-)

                      Your little wishlist is the fantasy.
                      A fantasy that costs the party dearly when the party is foolish enough to indulge it.

                      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                      by FrankRose on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:17:49 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Guns are banned in the current USA (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        coquiero

                        And I say again: many guns ARE BANNED in the USA today.  Indeed, it is probably true that there are many more weapons that you are not allowed to own or use under current US law than weapons that you are allowed to own and use.

                        These laws that already ban many guns here in the USA are not a problem for the country; the bans do not result in hoards of dark-skinned evil-doers invading your homes and raping your women; nor are the camo-wearing militia troglodytes crawling out from under their rocks to march on Washington and take over the government.

                        The only draw-back of these existing gun bans is that you have less chance to make boom-boom with your hot metal love object.

                        As for the democratic or republican party - I could not care less.  Neither party represents my political interests.

                        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 06:52:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No? (0+ / 0-)

                          Good thing, but I never took my sis-in-law as a "dark skinned evil doer", I guess I had better take back the shotgun I gave her & her family & quit taking her sons out to the rifle range.
                          ......or perhaps you should try joining us in reality instead of your naive little fantasy world.

                          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                          by FrankRose on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 08:22:45 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I guess you do not like your sister-in-law much (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            coquiero

                            Fun fact to know and tell: residents in a home where there is a gun are twice as likely to die in a gun homicide as residents in a home where there is no gun - and women residing in a home where there is a gun are THREE TIMES more likely to die in a gun homicide than women who live in a home where there is no gun ('cause women get murdered at higher rates by the men in the house and having a gun around makes murder easier).

                            I guess you do not like you sister-in-law very much - you gave her a gift of blood and death.

                            Another fun/gun fact to know and tell: a gun in the home is seven times more likely to be used to shoot a resident in the home than a non-resident criminal intruder.

                            Your thoughtfulness and generosity to your brother's family is a wonder.

                            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 08:33:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Then don't own one. (0+ / 0-)

                            You don't think you can handle the responsibility & I am persuaded to agree with you.
                            You likely can't.

                            However, I will take my sis-in-law's assessment of her responsibility over your admittedly ignorant opinion.

                            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                            by FrankRose on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 09:02:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Rilfes with less than 0.45?? (0+ / 0-)

                  So you would ban all modern common hunting rifles? Such as the 30-30 or 30-06? Well there goes the "but we approve of hunting" bullshit. And wonder why there is no trust....

    •  There is a problem with these statistics (0+ / 0-)

      They look at the average risk and do not break down risk by ownership expertise and experience:

      (1)  By "expertise" I mean adherence to recognized safe gun handling and storage practices.
      (2)  By "experience" I mean number of years practicing safe gun ownership.

      Why does this matter?  Look at hunting success statistics.  Many states publish hunter success rates for various game management units.  For a modern firearm deer season in Washington State, a typical success rate might be 22%.  However, if one looks at who is represented in that 22%, a disproportionate number will be the same people year after year.  Why?  Because expertise and experience increase the odds of success.  Once I learned how to hunt deer, I killed deer every year for about 10 years straight, and usually filled every supplemental tag that I drew.  Even when hunting in units with low success rates, my personal likelihood of success was nearly 100%.

      Obviously, expertise and experience matter.

      If one were to break down firearms death or injury risks by expertise and experience, one would see the risk skewed toward the inexperienced and the chronically negligent.

      "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

      by DaveinBremerton on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 02:06:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That might be true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, LilithGardener

        It might be true that risk of gunshot injury is different for different parts of the gun-owning public - that risk varies by "experience" and "expertise".

        However, at the moment, that is only an untested theory.  To my knowledge, no empiric study has been done to test that theory.

        Your anecdotal evidence that experience and expertise play a role in hunting "success" is meaningless in a discussion about gunshot injuries.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 05:48:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then look at auto accidents by age group (0+ / 0-)

          Or skiing, or motorcycling, or piloting aircraft, or any of a host of other equipment-related mishap categories.  In each case, the bulk of the mishaps fall to the younger, less experienced, and negligent.

          That you would put ideology ahead of common sense is interesting, because it forced you to miss something important in what I said:

          If gunshot death and injury rates are skewed toward those who are younger or less experienced, then the risk of death or injury for first-time gun owners is substantially higher than shown by the statistics you posted.
          Let me say that again:  first-time gun owners are at more risk of death and injury than shown in the statistics you posted.  Sound like a problem that ought to have your attention?

          It also makes a statement as to the value of firearms safety training and proper storage equipment, but promoting safety would likely reduce accidental deaths and some suicides.  If one's goal is simply to restrict firearms ownership, then reducing deaths and injuries via safety training is counterproductive.

          "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

          by DaveinBremerton on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 07:49:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, that might be true (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, LilithGardener

            Once again, it might be true that the risk of gunshot injury is greater for younger and/or less experienced gun owners.

            But at this time, I know of no empiric studies that have sought to test this, to say nothing of providing supporting evidence.

            And until there is actual supporting empiric evidence, your theory is merely an unsupported theory (or what some might ungenerously call your factless opinion).

            As to gun safety training, I advocate that ALL gun owners be REQUIRED to show they have received safety training BEFORE being issued a gun permit.  

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:53:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  tipped & rec'ed nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Glen The Plumber

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:47:14 AM PDT

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