Protect your child from guns and firearms

Small children, even some 1-year-olds, are able to pull the trigger on a gun. In addition, older children or adults can mishandle guns or firearms and injure others. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to avoid keeping guns and firearms. If this is not possible, guns and firearms should be kept away from children and stored:1

  • Unloaded.
  • Locked in a secure location.
  • With the safety device on.
  • Separate from ammunition.

Approximately 35% of children in the United States live in homes that have at least one handgun or firearm. Regardless of individual opinions on gun control, most people agree that these weapons should be safely stored. However, recent research shows many household guns and firearms are accessible to children. Although 39% of surveyed households that have both firearms and children reported that they keep the weapons properly secured (locked, unloaded, with the safety device on, and separate from ammunition), a significant number do not follow all of these safety measures:2

  • 43% have at least one firearm that is not stored in a locked location and does not have a trigger lock (or similar safety device) in place.
  • 9% have one or more firearms stored unlocked and loaded.
  • 4% store firearms unlocked, unloaded, and with ammunition.

These figures emphasize the need for parents and caregivers to be consistently thorough and conscientious about safely storing firearms.

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (accessed November 2008). Firearms injury prevention. The Injury Prevention Program (TIPP). Available online: http://www.aap.org/family/tipp-firearms.htm.
  2. Schuster MA, et al. (2000). Firearm storage patterns in U.S. homes with children. American Journal of Public Health, 90(4): 588–594.

Last Updated: December 3, 2008

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