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In the News

Common Sense President Responds to "Add Health" Study
Common Sense about Kids and Guns, 11/30/2000

Adults Must Take Responsibility for Preventing Kids’ Unsupervised Access to Guns: A Statement on the Add Health Study from Common Sense about Kids and Guns President Victoria Reggie Kennedy

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is statement from Victoria Reggie Kennedy, president of Common Sense about Kids and Guns:

A national study of adolescents has concluded that a strong predictor of gun related violence is “easy access to guns at home.” This is a factor that can easily be controlled by adults taking responsibility for preventing kids' unsupervised access to guns.

According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), whose third phase was released today, it is impossible to predict gun-related violent behavior using race, income, or family structure. Coupled with national mortality statistics, (that show ten children a day, aged 0-19, killed in gun-related incidents) and emergency room statistics (that estimate four to six times as many kids incur injuries from firearms), the Add Health data show that we must not be lulled into a false sense of security by believing that gun-related deaths and injuries only occur in someone else’s family.

All adults must take action to prevent these kinds of tragedies from ever happening. Each time kids use guns from home to hurt themselves or someone else, there is an adult acting irresponsibly who allowed that child to have easy and unsupervised access to a gun. If adults act responsibly, easy access to guns at home can be controlled.

First and foremost, before bringing a gun into our homes, we must consider all of the circumstances unique to our own families. Do children live in or visit our home? Does someone in the family abuse drugs or alcohol? Is someone depressed or prone to violence or abuse?

The risk of death or injury to children is so significant that the American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the most effective way to prevent firearm-related deaths and injuries to children and adolescents is not having guns in the home. Even the leading trade association representing gun manufacturers, the Sporting Arms and Ammunitions Manufacturers, Inc. (SAAMI), emphasizes in its literature that a gun in the home is not appropriate for all homes or individuals.

Whether or not you decide to keep at gun at home, there are steps you must take steps to protect kids from gun deaths and injuries.
All gun owners must:
-- unload and lock up their guns;
-- lock and store ammunition separately; and
-- keep keys where kids are unable to find them.
All parents must:
-- ask if guns are safely stored at places their kids visit or play;
-- talk with their kids about guns; and
-- teach young children not to touch guns and to tell an adult if they find one.

Without any exaggeration, the way a gun is stored can be a matter of life or death for our children. Adults must take action to prevent these tragedies from ever happening. And remember, the child you save may be your own.

Mrs. Kennedy is the president and co-founder of Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to educating adult s about steps they can take to protect children from gun violence. For more information on this topic, please go to or call (877) 955-KIDS.

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Please note: Common Sense and its endorsing organizations do not necessarily endorse all content stemming from the links provided in this page.  All resources in these web pages are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. Advice and opinions on mental health and other medical issues should be obtained through consultation with a licensed and trained professional.

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