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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 170907 Find in a Library
Title: Firearm Deaths Among Children and Youth
Journal: American Psychologist  Volume:50  Issue:9  Dated:(September 1995)  Pages:771-776
Author(s): C R O'Donnell
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing data on the prevalence of firearm-related deaths among children and youth, this article discusses policy options for addressing the problem.
Abstract: Nationally, homicide and suicide are the second and third leading causes of death among children and youth under the age of 21. Sixteen-to 19-year-olds now have the highest rate of handgun victimization among all age groups. The firearm suicide rate for white males is over four times higher than the rate for African- American males; whereas, the firearm homicide rate is over nine times higher for African-American males. Almost half of all deaths among African-American male teenagers now involve firearms. Multiple steps, both short-term and long-term, must be taken to reduce firearm death rates among children and youth. Policy alternatives often suggested to address the firearm death rate of children and youth are safety devices for firearms, education, and security measures. The policy alternative that has the best potential to reduce firearm deaths among children and youth in the long-term is to reduce their access to firearms. What is needed is a means to allow people to possess firearms while reducing the access of these firearms to children and youth by creating incentives for gun owners to demand safety features, to acquire security devices to prevent unauthorized use, and to reconsider the relative risks and benefits of gun ownership. A combination of three policies would help to create these incentives: balance the number of gun dealers in the United States with the capacity of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to inspect dealers; establish a license and registration system similar to that used for motor vehicles; and establish penalties for the illegal sale or private transfer of a firearm and owners' civil liability for the use of their guns. 50 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile gun ownership
Index Term(s): Child victims; Firearms deaths; Gun Control; Juvenile victims
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