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October 9, 2009

Firearms Accidents Not a Major Factor in Health Care Costs


With some media stories about health care making reference to guns as a reason for rising costs, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminds reporters and editors that fatal firearms accidents are at all-time lows and now represent less than 1 percent (actually 0.7 percent) of all accidental fatalities in the country.

Declines in accidents involving children have been steep. Between 1996 and 2006, accidental fatalities for children 14 years of age and under decreased by 61 percent, and by 77 percent going back to 1986, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

In a side-by-side comparison with other forms of unintentional fatalities, firearms rank far down on the list, well below motor vehicles, poisoning, falls, choking, drowning and fires.

These successes have come about through the promotion of the safe use and storage of firearms through voluntary measures, including programs such as Project ChildSafe and the practice of including appropriate gun-locking devices and safety literature with new firearms. These voluntary, firearms industry programs, along with ongoing firearms and hunter safety education efforts, are helping to continue the trend toward increased firearms safety and decreased firearms accidents.