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Firearm Safety Summary

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The per capita rate and annual number of firearm accident deaths have decreased steadily for decades, and fell to all-time lows in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available from the National Center for Health Statistics. 

The firearm accident death rate has decreased 94 percent since the all-time high in 1904.  The annual number of such accidents has decreased 80 percent since 1930, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such accidents have decreased 90% since 1975. Today, the odds are more than a million to one, against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident. 

Firearms are involved in 0.5% of accidental deaths nationally, compared to motor vehicles (37%), poisoning (22%), falls (17%), suffocation (5%), drowning (2.9%), fires (2.5%), medical mistakes (1.7%), environmental factors (1.3%), and pedal cycles (0.7%). Among children: motor vehicles (41%), suffocation (21%), drowning (15%), fires (8%), pedal cycles (2%), poisoning (2%), falls (1.9%), environmental factors (1.5%), firearms (1.1%) and medical mistakes (1%). 

Voluntary firearms safety training, not government intrusion, has decreased firearms accidents. NRA firearm safety programs are conducted by more than 62,000 NRA Certified Instructors nationwide. Youngsters learn firearm safety in NRA programs offered through civic groups such as the Boy Scouts, Jaycees, the American Legion, and schools. NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe program teaches children pre-K through 3rd grade that if they see a firearm without supervision, they should "STOP! Don't Touch. Leave The Area. Tell An Adult." Since 1988, the program has been used by 26,000 schools, civic groups, and law enforcement agencies to reach more than 22 million children. 

For more information, visit www.nrahq.org/education/index.asp, www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/, and www.nraila.org/Issues/ (click "accident statistics").

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.