According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, the number of children that are being harmed by firearms in the home every year has drastically increased in the past decade, with percentages of children who die by firearm nearly doubling.
Though researchers found that death by firearm for children under the age of 5 had steadily decreased since the 90s, in 2001 there was a sudden increase again.
Researchers used data from 1976 to 2016 to estimate how handgun ownership has changed among American families over the years, and to unveil the number of deaths of children associated with firearms in the home.
Among white families, the percentage of families who owned firearms decreased from 50 to 45 percent, and among black families decreased from 38 percent to 6 percent. However, the percentage of handguns owned among white American families increased from 49 percent to 72 percent. Researchers found this increase in handguns to be correlated with an increase in deaths among children.
Experts have urged gun owners to store their firearms in spaces that are not accessible to children in order to help prevent injuries and death in the future.
“We cannot trust children not to explore the firearm or to even understand how it works and how lethal it is,” said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, general pediatrician and chief of digital innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital, as reported by CNN.
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