Studies and Surveys
These Studies and Surveys offer data which help us understand the situation around kids and guns from a variety of perspectives.
Journal of Trauma 52:267-275, 2/1/2002
Firearm Availability and Unintentional Firearm Deaths, Suicide, and Homicide among 5-14 Year Olds
This study setout to correlate firearm deaths among children with levels of gun ownership by state. 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. (For first visit, click on "February 2002" and then scroll down to Original Articles.)
Authors: Miller, Azrael, and Hemenway (Harvard School of Public Health).
American Journal of Public Health 90:588-594, 4/1/2000
Firearm Storage Patterns in US Homes With Children
This study shows that many children live in homes with firearms that are stored in an accessible manner and efforts to prevent children's access to firearms are needed. (Also published as a Rand Report.)
Authors: Schuster, Franke, Bastian, Sor, and Halfon (UCLA School of Public Health/RAND Center for Research on Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health).
Pediatrics (Journal of the AAP) 104:1059-1063, 11/1/1999
Firearms in the Home: Parental Perceptions
A majority of gun-owning parents store their firearms loaded or unlocked, substantially underestimating the risk of injury to their children. Many firearm-owning parents trust their child with a loaded gun and believe that their young child can tell the difference between a toy gun and a real gun.
Authors: Farah, Simon, and Kellermann (Emory University School of Medicine and the Center for Injury Control).
National Institute of Justice Research in Brief, 5/1/1997
Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms
This reports contains the results of a nationally representative telephone survey (1994) on private ownership and use of firearms by American adults. The survey provides the most complete data available on the private stock of firearms in the United States. (Requires Adobe Reader.) Or click here for plain text file.
Authors: Cook (Duke University) and Ludwig (Georgetown University).
RAND (also American Journal of Public Health 90:588-594), 4/1/2000
Guns in the Family: Firearm Storage Patterns in U.S. Homes with Children
This study, a RAND analysis of data regarding firearm ownership and storage patterns found that of U.S. families with children and firearms, fewer than half store their firearms unloaded, locked, and away from ammunition.
Authors: Schuster, Franke, Bastian, Sor, and Halfon (UCLA School of Public Health/RAND Center for Research on Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health).
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 111:e109-e114, 2/1/2003
Most Parents Think Child Wouldn't Play with Gun
This study, "'They’re Too Smart for That': Predicting What Children Would Do in the Presence of Guns," finds that the vast majority of parents think their child would not pick up a gun if they found one, even though many parents have not specifically told their child what to do if they find a gun. The survey of Ohio parents also found that only 12% of gun owners with kids keep their guns locked and unloaded.
Authors: Connor (Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital) and Wesolowski (Case Western Reserve University).
The Future of Children 12 (Journal of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation) , 8/1/2002
Study Finds Gun Safety Training for Kids Ineffective; Parents Must Prevent Unsupervised Access
This comprehensive issue, entitled "Children, Youth, and Gun Violence," finds that programs to train kids to stay away from guns, or behave responsibly on their own around guns, do not work. The report suggests that instead of trying to change youth behavior around guns, parents should focus on keeping kids away from unsupervised contact with guns, whether at home or in the community.
Injury Prevention 8:313-316, 9/19/2002
Study Shows Correlation Between Household Handgun Ownership and Suicide Rates
This study, entitled "Association of rates of household handgun ownership, lifetime major depression, and serious suicidal thoughts with rates of suicide across US census regions," concludes that in regions of the U.S. with higher levels of household handgun ownership, there are higher suicide rates. The study shows that this relationship cannot be explained by differences in the prevalence of major depression or suicidal thoughts. Also published as "Household Firearm Ownership and Suicide Rates in the United States" in Epidemiology 13:517-524. (Click on September 2002.)
Authors: Hemenway, Azrael, and Miller (Harvard School of Public Health).
Survey finds 1.7 million children live in home with unlocked, loaded guns
This survey examined the prevalence of household firearms and firearm-storage practices to estimate the number of children exposed to unsafe storage practices. Among its findings were that 1.7 million of today's youth, ages 18 and under, are living in households with unlocked, loaded firearms.
Authors: Catherine A. Okoro, David E. Nelson, James A. Mercy, Lina S. Balluz, Alex E. Crosby, and Ali H. Mokdad
Accidental Child Deaths Most Likely to Happen at Home
This article introduces new research that shows children are more likely to die from an accidental injury that they sustain in their own homes than any other place. The study points out that child deaths caused by unintentional injuries at home occur far more often, and most could have been prevented with adequate safety measures and supervision.
The Journal of Neuroscience, February 25, 2004, 24(8):1793-1802, 2/25/2004
Adolescent Brains Show Reduced Reward Anticipation
Why are teens more likely to engage in high-risk behavior? This study shows that teen brains are less developed in the areas that motivate behavior to obtain rewards making it more difficult for teenagers to achieve long term goals. Understanding how adolescent brains respond to motivational factors will be critical for shaping prevention messages that deter unhealthy or dangerous behaviors. Read the study.
Authors: James M. Bjork, Brian Knutson, Grace W. Fong, Daniel M. Caggiano, Shannon M. Bennett, and Daniel W. Hommer
Annals of Emergency Medicine (Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians) 41:10-18, 1/1/2003
Analysis of Accidental Shootings Shows Most Can Be Prevented
This study, entitled "Unintended shootings in a large metropolitan area: An incident-based analysis," provides several approaches that can be implemented to reduce the level of accidental gun incidents, including providing training, creating new gun safety devices, and keeping them out of reach of children can prevent accidental shootings.
Authors: Ismach, Reza, Ary, Sampson, Bartolomeos, and Kellermann (Emory University School of Medicine and the Center for Injury Control).
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 107:1125-1132, 5/1/2001
Attitudes of New York City High School Students Regarding Firearm Violence
This study found that more than half of the teens surveyed said that a gun had injured either themselves or a relative. And 88 percent thought that it was fine for a child or teen to own a gun.
Authors: Kahn, Kazimi, and Mulvihill (Albert Einstein College of Medicine).
National Association of School Psychologists Communiqué 27, 9/24/2001
Attitudes toward Guns and Violence: A Neglected Factor in Youth Aggression and its Prevention
This article summarizes much of the recent research on youth violence. It looks at past prevention efforts; the Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire; factors in attraction to guns and violence; and implications for intervention and variables associated with violence-related attitudes.
Author: Shapiro (Center for Research, Quality Improvement and Training of Applewood Centers).
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 107:1247-1250, 6/1/2001
Boys, in Study, Find and Handle Guns; One in Four Pull Trigger
This study, entitled "Seeing Is Believing: What Do Boys Do When They Find a Real Gun?" shows that most young boys who discover a concealed firearm are likely to handle it and even pull the trigger, regardless of what they are taught about gun safety at home or if the gun is real or a toy.
Authors: Jackman, Farah (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Kellermann, and Simon (Emory University School of Medicine and Center for Injury Control).
Children's Defense Fund, 1/31/2005
Children's Defense Fund 2005 Report on Children Dying from Gunfire in America
Summarizing the 2002 CDC Mortality Numbers, the Children's Defense Fund put out this detailed analysis of the data, with additional resources and suggestions for action. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 153:586-590, 6/1/1999
Firearm Storage Practices and Children in the Home, United States, 1994
This study sets out to estimate the national prevalence of firearm ownership and storage practices in the home, to compare storage practices in homes with and without children, and to analyze demographic characteristics related to firearm storage practices in homes with children.
Authors: Stennies (National Center for Infectious Diseases), Ikeda, Leadbetter, Houston, and Sacks (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control).
Annals of Emergency Medicine (Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians) 28:204-213, 8/1/1996
Firearm Violence Among Youth: Public Health Strategies for Prevention
In this article, the authors discuss the burden of firearm injury and its effect on children and young adults, and they outline a public health approach to firearm injury prevention.
Authors: Powell, Sheehan, and Christoffel (Northwestern University School of Medicine).
Physicians for Social Responsibility
An extensive collection of articles relating to firearms, firearm violence, guns in the home, and women and guns.
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 111:741-744, 4/1/2003
Florida Study Says Accidental Gun Deaths Are Underreported
This study, "Are 'Accidental' Gun Deaths as Rare as They Seem? A Comparison of Medical Examiner Manner of Death Coding With an Intent-Based Classification Approach," done in one Florida county, finds that when intent is accounted for, the number of unintended firearm related deaths among youngsters increases six-fold.
Authors: Schaechter, Duran, De Marchena, Lemard, and Villar (University of Miami School of Medicine).
Common Sense about Kids and Guns, 10/11/2000
Gun Accidents, Suicides Increase Among Kids
Though overall firearm deaths are down nationwide, an analysis of gun accidents and suicides among kids shows that within certain age groups there were startling increases. The greatest increases were among 5-9 year olds, where the number of accidental firearm deaths increased 21% and among 10-14 year olds, where there was a 21% increase in the number of firearm suicides.
Journal of the American Medical Association 283:1193-1195 (free registration required), 3/1/2000
Gun Carrying and Homicide Prevention
This article summarizes recent research on the connection between various laws and gun use, including the effect of concealment laws.
Author: Sherman (University of Pennsylvania Department of Sociology and Fels Center of Government).
Gun Storage Practices and the Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Injuries
This study found that the risk of youth suicide is increased with the presence of a firearm in the house. The risk of unintentional firearm injuries is also significantly increased when a gun is accessible in the home. In order to prevent these injuries, it is recommended that certain safety precautions be taken. This study shows how these precautions decreases risk of injury and death.
Annals of Emergency Medicine (Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians) 41:771-783, 6/2/2003
Guns in Home Endanger Household Members, Study Says
This study, "Homicide and Suicide Risks Associated With Firearms in the Home: A National Case-Control Study," found that people in households with guns are almost twice as likely to be victims of gun homicide than people in households without guns. Furthermore, people were 16 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun if one is present in the home.
Author: Wiebe (UCLA School of Public Health Violence Prevention Research Group and Firearm Injury Center at Penn).
National Institute of Mental Health
In Harm's Way: Suicide in America
This report provides information from a variety of studies showing the increase in suicides and attempted suicides among teenagers. The site also gives information about gender differences and preventing suicides.
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 155:1364-1368, 12/1/2001
Incidence and Circumstances of Nonfatal Firearm-Related Injuries Among Children and Adolescents
A new analysis of the Firearm Injury Surveillance Study, 1993-1997, shows that 800 children per year younger than 10 years old are shot, often unintentionally, by someone they know, and there are four to five kids that sustain a nonfatal wound for each firearm fatality.
Authors: Powell, Jovtis, and Tanz (Northwestern University Medical School and Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago).
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 105:1313-1321, 6/5/2000
Increasing Identification of Pediatric Psychosocial Problems: 1979-1996
Children today are more likely to be diagnosed with psychological and social problems, possibly due to an increase in the number of children living in poverty and single-parent families. The overall rate of anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and developmental delays rose from 7% to nearly 19% among children aged 4 to 15 years.
Authors: Kelleher, Gardner, and Childs (University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine), McInerny and Wasserman (Pediatric Research in Office Settings, Elk Grove Village).
Kids and Guns: The Facts
Each year, there are 34,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. How many of those deaths are children, and has that number increased in the last few years? Researchers at familyeducation.com have collected statistics on kids and guns.
Alfred University, 8/28/2001
Lethal Violence in Schools: A National Study
This national survey of 2,017 students in grades 7-12 concludes that more than 2.5 percent of America's students could be considered dangerous, meaning they have both the propensity toward violence and the means to accomplish it. In the survey, teenagers say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
Authors: Gaughan, Cerio, and Myers (Alfred University).
The New England Journal of Medicine 341:1583-1589, 11/18/1999
Mortality among Recent Purchasers of Handguns
The purchase of a handgun is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of suicide by firearm and by any method. The increase in the risk of suicide by firearm is apparent within a week after the purchase of a handgun and persists for at least six years.
Authors: Wintemute, Parham, Beaumont, Wright, and Drake (Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California, Davis).
New England Journal of Medicine, 3/24/2005
Parents Who Lose Children May Suffer Increased Mental Illness
This study found that parents who lost a child were at a higher risk of addiction and mental illness problems. This is the largest study to date of parent bereavement and mental health.
The Harris Poll 25, 5/30/2001
Poll Shows Two in Five Americans Live in Gun-Owning Households
Among its findings, the most recent Harris Poll concluded that two in every five adults (39%) live in households where one or more guns are owned and that gun ownership is more prevalent among the affluent, republicans and in the south.
Author: Taylor (The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive).
ABC News, 3/9/2000
Poll: 75 Percent Think Parents Responsible for Child’s Gun Use
An overwhelming majority of Americans say parents should be charged with a crime if their child uses their gun to shoot someone. 75 percent say parents should be prosecuted for failing to keep the firearm out of their child’s hands.
Author: Fuller (ABC News).
Annual Review of Public Health 19:271-292, 5/1/1998
Preventing Youth Violence: What Works?
A wide variety of programs have been implemented in an attempt to prevent youth violence or reduce its severity. Few have been adequately evaluated. This paper reviews them, and concludes, that in general, interventions applied between the prenatal period and age 6 appear to be more effective than interventions initiated in later childhood or adolescence.
Authors: Kellermann and Fuqua-Whitley (Emory Center for Injury Control), Rivara (Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center), and Mercy (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control).
The National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, 12/1/2000
Protecting Teens: Beyond Race, Income and Family Structure (The "Add Health" Study)
This national study of adolescents has concluded that a strong predictor of gun-related violence is "easy access to guns at home." According to the study, known as Add Health, it is impossible to predict gun-related violent behavior using race, income, or family structure. Coupled with national mortality statistics and emergency room statistics, 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.
Authors: Blum, Beuhring, and Rinehart (Center For Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota).
Injury Prevention 7:184-189, 8/30/2001
Relationship between Licensing, Registration, and Other Gun Sales Laws and the Source State of Crime Guns
This study concludes that states which require mandatory licensing and registration of handguns make it harder for criminals and juveniles to obtain guns from within the state. States with registration and licensing systems appear to do a better job than other states of keeping guns initially sold within the state from being recovered in crimes. Proximity to states without these laws, however, may limit their impact.
Authors: Webster, Vernick, and Hepburn (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Gun Policy and Research).
Hamilton Fish Institute, 9/18/2000
Report Finds Thousands of Incidents of Guns at School Are Not Reported
Thousands of students tote guns in America's classrooms every day, but few of those youths ever get caught, according to a new study. The report, prepared by the nonprofit Hamilton Fish Institute, determined that what students say about guns and other weapons in schools bears little resemblance to what administrators report. There are as many as 100 times as many guns in U.S. schools than are reported to the federal government. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
Reuters Health/Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 12/21/1999
Restricting Access to Guns May Be the Most Efficient Way to Help Prevent Suicide in Adolescents Under 16
Researchers suggest that restricting access to guns may be the most efficient way to help prevent suicide in adolescents under 16, as psychiatric problems appear to play less of a role in this younger age group, according to a report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Justice Policy Institute/Children's Law Center, 4/15/2000
School House Hype: Two Years Later
Despite the fact that there was a 40% decline in school-associated violent deaths between school years 1997-8 and 1998-9 (from 43 to 26), the number of Americans who were fearful of violence in their schools rose nearly 50% during that same period. This report will place the question of school violence and its accompanying reactions in a larger statistical and legal context. The report compares the real risks kids face in schools to the distorted image echoed in opinion polls and reported by the media.
Journal of the American Medical Association 286:2695-2702, 12/4/2001
School-Associated Violent Deaths in the United States, 1994-1999
This study describes recent trends and features of school-associated violent deaths in the United States. It concludes that the number of violent deaths at American schools is dropping, but the rare deadly outbursts are increasingly likely to claim more than one life. The study's authors said they believed more children were somehow gaining access to handguns without supervision, allowing them to turn what might have been small acts of aggression into massacres. (Anderson, Kaufman, Simon, Barrios, Paulozzi, Ryan, Hammond, Modzeleski, Feucht, Potter, and the School- Associated Violent Deaths Study Group, The American Medical Association.)
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 153:875-878, 8/1/1999
Self-inflicted and Unintentional Firearm Injuries Among Children and Adolescents
Examining firearm ownership in 98 cases over five years of youths aged 0-19 years who sought medical treatment for a self-inflicted or unintentional firearm injury or who presented to the county medical examiner with a fatal self- inflicted or unintentional firearm injury. The study concludes that more than 75% of the guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend. (Grossman, Reay, and Baker, Harborview Injury Prevention Center.)
Reason Public Policy Institute, 1/1/1998
Strategies to Keep Schools Safe
Improving the quality of American education is difficult without also addressing school violence, since regardless of how good the teachers or curriculum are, violence makes it difficult for students to learn. This in-depth study investigates possible strategies to reduce violence in schools.
Partnership for a Drug Free America, 2/2/2005
Study Shows Fewer Parents Talk to Their Children About Drug Use
A recent study found that one in ten parents say they have never spoken to their kids about drugs. The study suggests that parents today see less harm with illicit drug use and are thus less likely to talk to teens about drug abuse. Research shows that parents significantly underestimate drug use today. This site provides links to other valuable resources on how to talk to your kids about a variety of issues they may face on a regular basis.
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 24:352-358, 10/1/2003
Study Shows Guns May Hold Unique Allure for Young Boys
This study, entitled "Effects of Gun Admonitions on the Behaviors and Attitudes of School-Aged Boys," showed the discrepancy between what boys say and what boys do when it comes to firearms. While many boys say they are not interested in playing with guns, many will still touch a gun if left alone with one. Read Press Release.
Author: Hardy (Eckerd College).
Violence Policy Center, 11/28/2001
Study Shows Nearly One-Third of Kids Murdered with Handguns Are Shot and Killed by Other Kids
Kids in the Line of Fire: Children, Handguns, and Homicide is a first-time analysis of handgun murders of children up to age 17. The study analyzes unpublished FBI homicide data for 1995 through 1999. During this period, nearly a third (32.1 percent) of child handgun homicide victims were murdered by another child. Other findings include: an average of two children per day were murdered with handguns in the U.S. from 1995 to 1999.
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 106:e31, 10/1/2000
Study Shows that Moms Are Unaware of Guns in House and How They Are Stored
Researchers report that among American households with children, fathers are much more likely to own a gun than mothers--and that mothers are unaware if their husbands' guns are safely stored unloaded and locked. Among the households with guns, the investigators found that 60% of the adults surveyed said they themselves owned the a gun while 40% said that the gun did not personally belong to them--with over 85% of the non-gun owners being women. (Azrael, Miller, and Hemenway, Harvard School of Public Health.)
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 8/25/2003
Survey of American Working Mothers
This survey of the concerns of working mothers showed that their number one concern is the safety of their children, especially in the after- school hours. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
Josephson Institute of Ethics 2000 Report Card: Violence and Substance Abuse, 4/2/2001
Survey Shows Teens Have Access to Weapons and Turn to Violence When Angry
The Josephson Institute of Ethics recently surveyed more than 15,000 teenagers across the nation, and their results show that today's teens, especially boys, have a high propensity to use violence when they are angry, they have easy access to guns, drugs and alcohol, and a disturbing number take weapons to school.
Pediatrics (Journal of AAP) 113: 70-77, 1/1/2004
Teaching Kids to Chant Slogans is Not Enough
In the study, "An Evaluation of Two Procedures for Training Skills to Prevent Gun Play in Children," researchers evaluated two methods of teaching children about gun safety. The effectiveness of the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program and a behavioral skills training program were evaluated. The study concluded that the NRA's method was not sufficient because while the children were able to remember the verbal lessons, they were not able to carry the lessons into real life situations.
Authors: Himle, Michael B., Miltenberger, Raymond G., Gatheridge, Brian J., and Flessner, Christopher. (North Dakota State University)
Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska, 5/25/2005
Teen Suicide Report
Understanding teen suicide is essential as the epidemic continues to grow around the country. This study is focused in Nebraska where 15 to 20 teens kill themselves every year. Here the teen suicide rate is one-third worse than the nation's. These deaths and the stories behind them reveal much about the social forces contributing to teen suicide.
Uhlich Children’s Home, 6/27/2002
The Uhlich Children’s Home Teen Gun Survey
This "nationally valid" survey sampled more than 1,000 teens nationwide in early 2002 to gauge their viewpoints about gun violence and school security in the United States. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
American Journal of Public Health, 10/15/2004
Urban and Rural Intentional Firearm Deaths
This study analyzed the differences in urban and rural intentional firearm deaths, including suicide. The intent was to better discern the relative risk of intentional firearm death in urban versus rural areas.
Violent Behavior in High School Teenagers
This study indicates that most violence-related behavior in high school students has decreased. However, they also found an increased number of students who missed school because they did not feel safe enough to attend. The study provides statistics on the number of students who have been threatened or injured with a weapon at school.
Families and Work Institute, 7/30/2002
Youth Violence: Students Speak Out for a More Civil Society
This report is the first study to ask a nationally representative sample of kids: "If you could make one change that would help stop the violence that young people experience today, what would that one change be?" The study found that the majority of young people experience some form of emotional and physical violence.
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