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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study Indicates Stronger Firearm Laws Could Have Prevented Nearly 4,000 Children’s Deaths

Stronger pediatric firearm laws would have resulted in significantly fewer children’s deaths by firearms, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Nearly 4,000 children’s deaths by firearms between 1991-2016 could have been prevented with the strongest form of child access prevention (CAP) firearm laws, the study found. That’s a 29 percent reduction in risk of death by firearms of children ages 14 and younger.

“These findings show that there is a large reduction in pediatric firearm deaths in states that have passed laws holding parents responsible for the safe storage of firearms,” said first study author Mr. Hooman Azad, a third-year MD/MPH student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Five hundred children die each year from firearm violence. These deaths happen at much higher rates in certain states, and the passage of these laws seems to be associated with reductions in those rates.”

The study was published March 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.

“We found significant reductions in all firearm deaths — homicides, suicides and unintentional deaths,” Mr. Azad said.

Out of 50 states, only four have the most stringent form of child access prevention law, Mr. Azad said. Illinois has a negligence firearm law, but it is the weakest form of negligence law.

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