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May 16, 2024

Firearm Safety Initiatives Working as Firearm-Related Fatalities Third Lowest on Record

By Joe Bartozzi

The firearm and ammunition industry’s commitment to secure firearm storage and safe firearm handling is – again – proving its effectiveness. The National Safety Council’s report on preventable injury and fatality statistics shows that firearm-related deaths were at the third lowest on record for 2022, the most recent year for which data is available.

That’s a significant achievement. Make no mistake, there’s still work to do to drive the figure to zero. However, this report proves that the work the firearm industry is doing to prevent the misuse of firearms through secure storage and safe firearm handling skills is saving lives.

The National Safety Council reported there were 463 preventable injury-related deaths from a firearm. That was a decrease of 15.5 percent from 10 years ago and a 39.2 percent drop from 20 years ago. The 2022 figures were only behind 2018 and 2014 when 458 and 461 preventable injury-related deaths, respectively, were reported. The National Safety Council began tracking these figures in 1903.

Percentage of overall preventable injury-related deaths from firearms improved as well. Just 0.2 percent of preventable injury-related deaths in 2022 were reported to be from firearms. That was a 0.1 percent decrease from both 2018 and 2014 reports.

National Safety Council - Injury Facts

Compared to other categories of preventable injury-related deaths, secure firearm storage and safe firearm handling is making headway while other causes of death are increasing. Fire, flames and smoke accounted for 3,478 preventable injury-related deaths in 2022, a 41.2 percent increase from 10 years ago. Motor vehicles accounted for 46,027 preventable injury-related deaths in the same year, a 26.4 percent increase from 2012. There were 5,553 preventable injury-related deaths from choking reported in 2022, a 19.8 percent increase over a decade ago and poisoning preventable injury-related deaths accounted for 102, 958, a 183 percent increase from 2012 – and a staggering 486.7 percent increase from 20 years ago.

National Safety Council - Preventable


Overall, preventable injury-related deaths in 2022 were reported at 227,039, a 77 percent increase from 2012 and a 112.7 percent increase from 2002. Of all those categories listed, the firearms category was the only one that showed improvement when the 10-year interval is being compared. When examining the fatalities per 100,000 population, preventable injury-related deaths accounted for just 0.1 of those preventable deaths in 2022, while motor vehicles accounted for 13.8 preventable deaths. That translates to just one accidental firearm-related death in 1 million people.

Using the rates for 2022, a person is 138 times more likely to be involved in an unintentional fatality with a motor vehicle than with a firearm.

National Safety Council - Fatalities

The National Safety Council’s report runs counter to the Biden administration’s claim that firearms are leading cause of death among children. That narrative has been repeatedly debunked. Researchers arrived at that figure by combining all firearm-related deaths, including criminal misuse of a firearm and extending the age-category to include adults aged 18 and 19. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have repeatedly echoed this stretched statistic to push an ant-gun agenda. That’s not the whole truth, though.

As the study’s authors point out, total firearm-related deaths for people 1-19, including suicide, homicide, unintentional and undetermined intents, were the leading category at a total of 4,357 deaths, overtaking vehicle-related deaths for the first time. This is an alarming number for anyone to wrap their head around. Upon further analysis, it is clear why the authors included adults in the study. Almost half of the reported deaths, 47.9 percent, originate from 18 to 19-year-old adult victims.

When those statistics are corrected to include only youth ages 17 and under, motor vehicles still far surpass firearms as the leading cause of death.

While these figures show the firearm and ammunition industry is on the right track, any number above zero is unacceptable. That’s why the firearm and ammunition industry is committed to the Real Solutions. Safer Communities® campaign to prevent the criminal and negligent misuse of firearms.

A pillar of this program NSSF’s Project ChildSafe®. That’s the 25-year partnership with 15,000 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. So far, this partnership has distributed over 41 million free firearm safety kits, which include a locking device to ensure firearms are inaccessible to those who shouldn’t possess them, including children, prohibited individuals and those who may be suffering a mental health crisis. That’s above and beyond the free locks included in every firearm shipped from the factory, which brings the total to over 100 million.

NSSF is also launching Gun Storage✅Week™, a nationwide educational campaign, that will run June 1-7, during National Safety Month, and Sept. 1-7, during National Suicide Prevention Month. NSSF is encouraging all to use the promotional toolkit to remind firearm owners to review their secure firearm storage practices and ensure they are doing their part to prevent unwanted access to firearms.

NSSF is also committed to reducing the tragedy of suicide by firearm. NSSF partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to develop a suicide prevention toolkit to help firearms retailers, shooting range operators and customers understand risk factors and warning signs related to suicide, know where to find help and encourage secure firearms storage options.

AFSP and the firearm industry have also partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on a safe firearm storage toolkit designed to help prevent suicide among veterans. Further, NSSF launched, a resource to help gun owners, their friends and family to understand the warning signs of suicide and the resources available to initiate a brave conversation to prevent suicide tragedies.

The National Safety Council’s report is encouraging. The firearm and ammunition industry has known that these secure storage and safe firearm handling education programs work.  We also recognize that one is still one too many and it is why we are committed to driving that number of preventable injury-related deaths due to firearms to the only acceptable number – zero.

You may also be interested in:

University of Michigan’s Honorary Doctorate in Gun Control Disinformation

Suicide Prevention Toolkit Items

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Tags: Brave Conversation Firearms Gun Storage✅Week National Safety Council Preventable Injury-Related Deaths Project ChildSafe Real Solutions

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