Author discusses guns and the preventable deaths of kids

Dec 18, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 9:31 am

kids guns...

Karen Kobylik and her husband Michael Kobylik hold funeral programs for Karen's children Ruby and Bishop Taverner, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Pontiac, Mich. Ruby shot and killed her boyfriend and brother before taking her own life hours later on May 8, 2022. Kobylik had spent the weeks prior calling police asking them to remove her daughter's firearm. "They said we can't take any guns away from her because we cannot step on her second amendment right," Kobylik told The Associated Press. Michigan is poised to become the 20th state in the nation to pass red flag laws. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for kids up to age 17. And guns are a leading cause of those deaths, a government report has found. One of the authors of the report discusses how to stop the preventable gun deaths of children.

According to the CDC report issued Dec. 15:

Overall, 83% of unintentional firearm injury deaths occurred among boys. The majority (85%) of victims were fatally injured at a house or apartment, including 56% in their own home. Approximately one half (53%) of unintentional firearm death to children were inflicted by others; 38% were self-inflicted.”

Kids and unsecured guns

Rebecca Wilson, who is the first author of the CDC report on Unintentional Firearm Injury Deaths, joins guest hosts Leah Murray and Taylor Morgan to discuss the report’s findings.

She started by saying the holiday season means most children are out of school.

Wilson said unintentional and preventable firearm deaths occurred when guns were stored both loaded and unlocked, and accessed from nightstands and other sleeping areas.

Securing a firearms means storing the gun locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition, she said.

Two-thirds (67%) of shooters were playing with or showing the gun to others when it discharged, the report found.

Wilson said the study found that the child age group 11 through 15 years had a disproportionate level of unintentional gun deaths inflicted by another.

“For the younger children ages 0 to 5, they accounted for about 30% of unintentional firearm-injury deaths that we found in this study, and their injuries were disproportionately self-inflicted,” she said.

The majority of both shooters and victims were boys, she added.

Wilson said the study did not examine the relationship between unintentional child gun deaths and state and/or federal firearm policies.

“I will say overall — just the overall takeaway — is that if you have a firearm in the home, as a parent, as a caregiver as a firearm owner, securing your firearm is the best way to prevent these deaths,” she said.

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Author discusses guns and the preventable deaths of kids