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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999 Aug;153(8):875-8.

Self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries among children and adolescents: the source of the firearm.

Author information

1
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle, Wash 98104, USA. navajo@u.washington.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The source and ownership of guns used by children to shoot themselves or others is largely unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the ownership and usual storage location of firearms used in unintentional and self-inflicted intentional firearm deaths and injuries.

DESIGN:

Retrospective case series.

SETTING:

King County, Washington.

PATIENTS:

Youths aged from birth to 19 years who sought medical treatment at a level I trauma center for a self-inflicted or unintentional firearm injury between 1990 and 1995 or who presented to the county medical examiner with a fatal self-inflicted or unintentional firearm injury between 1990 and 1995.

DATA SOURCES:

County medical examiner records, regional police investigative reports, medical records from a level I trauma center, and surveys of victims' families.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Source and ownership of the associated firearm.

RESULTS:

Fifty-six fatal injuries and 68 nonfatal firearm injuries that met the criteria were identified. Of these, 59 were intentionally self-inflicted deaths and injuries and 65 were unintentional deaths and injuries. A firearm owned by a household member living with the victim was used in 33 (65%) of 51 suicides and suicide attempts and 11 (23%) of 47 unintentional injuries and deaths. Additionally, a firearm owned by another relative, friend, or parent of a friend of the victim was used in 4 (8%) of the 51 suicides and suicide attempts and 23 (49%) of the 47 unintentional injuries and deaths. Parental ownership accounted for 29 (57%) of the 51 suicides and suicide attempts and 9 (19%) of the 47 unintentional injuries and deaths. More than 75% of the guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend.

CONCLUSION:

Most guns involved in self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries originate either from the victim's home or the home of a friend or relative.

PMID:
10437764
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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