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Twice as Many Pediatric Firearms Deaths in States With Lax Gun Laws

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:


Dr. Taylor

Jordan Stephen Taylor MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Firearms are the second leading cause of death in pediatric patients (ages 1-19). Firearms cause more deaths in this population that cancer or heart disease combined. Our study examined the relationship between state firearm legislation (using the Brady Scorecard and Child Access Prevention (CAP) score) and pediatric firearm mortality. We also examined other state-level factors such as poverty levels, unemployment rate, and high school completion rates. There were several significant findings:

  1. Overall pediatric firearm mortality was inversely correlated with the stringency of state firearm legislation. States with the most stringent firearm legislation had pediatric firearm rates half that of states with more lenient firearm legislation (2.56 deaths per 100,00 children vs 5.00 deaths per 100,000 children. This correlation remained significant even after accounting for other state-level socioeconomic factors.
  2. Pediatric firearm suicide rates were significantly lower in states that had laws specifically designed to prevent children from accessing firearms, including laws that mandate safe storage practices or locks. States with strong CAP laws had rates of pediatric firearm suicides that were four times less than states without such laws. This correlation, as well, remained significant even after accounting for socioeconomic factors.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Pediatric firearm death is a major public health issue. There is a clear discrepancy in where these deaths are occurring. We found that state’s with more lenient laws are having their children die at an alarmingly greater rates. While federal legislation on firearms remains controversial and gridlocked, we found that state legislation could play an important role in preventing pediatric firearm deaths, particularly through passage of child access prevention laws. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Research like this is important to demonstrate to lawmakers and the public that gun legislation can save lives. Currently, only 27 states in the US have any form of Child Access Protection laws. Passing Child Access Prevention laws in the remaining 23 states would be a great starting point for using research like this.

We have no disclosures. 


Abstract Title: Strict firearm legislation is associated with lower firearm-related fatalities among children and teens in the United States

Jordan Taylor, MD; Sriram Madhavan, MS; Stephanie Chao, MD
Stanford, CA

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Last Updated on November 4, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD