AAP Says Kids Safest In Homes Without Guns – But Will Probably Be Ignored By Gun Owners

The American Academy of Pediatrics is every family’s go-to site for advice about what is or isn’t safe for their kids.  The AAP tag line is “Dedicated to the Health of All Children,” so yeah, we trust them.  They keep us informed about the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy and tobacco use in the home.  They advocate for healthy living and community access to health care.  They have an opinion about basically everything that goes on around our children.

The American public usually follows their advice.  But something tells me they won’t this time.

This week, researchers representing the AAP called for the strictest possible regulations of gun sales as well as more education on the dangers of having a gun in a home where a child is present.  Specifically, these are their recommendations:

Consumer product regulations regarding child access, safety and design of guns

Child access prevention laws that enforce safe storage practices including the use of trigger locks, lock boxes, and gun safes

Regulation of the purchase of guns, including mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show loophole, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and background checks

Restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public

It seems no matter how many studies surface about the root of gun violence, many still prefer to stick to believing that “people kill people.”

While the rate of firearm-related deaths has declined over the past two decades, it is still one of the top three causes of death in American youth, far exceeding the rates in other high-income countries. An estimated 38 percent of American households own guns; in gun-owning households with children under age 18, many of those guns are stored loaded and/or unlocked. The presence of guns in the home increases the risk of death from suicide or homicide.

So making guns easily accessible to our kids by having them around the house leads to gun violence?  Shocking. It turns out that guns do kill people, and keeping them in the house is very dangerous for our children:

“Firearm injuries are often fatal – there are few second chances,” said Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, immediate past president of the AAP. “Young children are curious, and are often unable to remember or follow safety rules. Older children and teens naturally tend to be moody and impulsive. When you combine these traits with access to guns, the consequences can be tragic and permanent.”

I hate to say that gun owners are notoriously stubborn when it comes to any kind of regulation – but they are.  Here are a few comments from a site that posted about the AAP’s concerns this week:

“I wonder how the members of the AAP would react to if the National Rifle Association (NRA) or Gun Owners of America (GOA) were to begin advising gun shops and shooting range owners to dispense medical advice promoting homeopathy and natural food supplements. Such activity would certainly be as valid as medical doctors pretending to be qualified to dispense firearms advice or actors and actresses providing prescription recommendations.”

“Every one of these doctors should be made to read this article, http://www.news9.com/story/19858704/12-year-old-girl-shoots-intruder-during-home-invasion
Then forced to explain to the girl’s mother face to face why it would be better for her to bury her daughter than have a gun in her home!”

With even Presidential nominees dodging important questions about gun control, and blaming violence on things like single-parent households – it seems unlikely that as a country we will be following the advice of the AAP any time soon.

(photo: DeiMosz/Shutterstock.com)

Be Sociable, Share!
You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
Be Sociable, Share!
  • Lastango

    Lock and load! The other day a twelve-year-old girl shot an intruder who “was also arrested back in September of 2011 for allegedly abducting a 17-year-old girl with a diminished mental capacity.”
    Want to start by learning more about firearms in general? Start here:
    For self-defence with a firearm, get specialized professional instruction:

    • Lindsay Cross

      A retired police detective also thought he was shooting a home intruder and ended up killing his own son. http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-police-officer-shoots-son-intruder-173424121.html
      Single anecdotes do not make something safe or unsafe for that matter. The truth is that a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide, criminal assault or homicide, or unintentional shooting death or injury than to be used in a self-defense shooting.

    • Lastango

      Fortunately, we do not need to rely on single anecdotes. There is a vast wealth of information about ordinary people protecting themselves and their families from criminals. Interested readers can go here:

      The weight of these successful acts of protection is augmented by the many tragedies that could have been prevented or reduced if the victims had been armed and thus able to defend themselves.
      The truth is that these accounts are often suppressed by the media, as part of their anti-gun agenda as they seek to consolidate government power by undermining the citizenry’s second-amendment rights.
      It is very important to know the facts. For instance, the highest gun homicide rate is in Washington DC, which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry — nearly 21 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate.
      Studies have been done on the benefits of firearms ownership for protection, and this article offers some results.
      The data is hard to ignore. For instance, Newsweek reported that law-abiding citizend using guns in self-defense during 2003 shot and killed two-and-one-half times as many criminals as police did, with fewer than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person was shot in error (2% vs. 11% of incidents).

    • Andrea

      I do NOT want the govt to ban or restrict gun ownership because I know that when the govt only is allowed to arm itself, citizens get screwed. Growing up in a 3rd world country, I know this.

      However it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are very dangerous objects. I certainly won’t have one in my home and I really would prefer my kids not visit someone who has one either.

    • Martin

      you have no trust in your own children

  • CW

    More U.S. kids accidentally drown in swimming pools than are accidentally injured by firearms kept in their home. But you don’t hear hysterics about the dangers of pools and how they should be banned from individual homes :-(

    • Andrea

      Actually, is there a pool in your home is a standard intake question for pediatricians. When I said yes, I got a whole bunch of literature on pool safety, pool fences, preventing drowning, etc. I think they take it just as seriously

    • CW

      There is a big difference between offering information on being a responsible owner of a thing, and being demonized for owning the thing in the first place. I don’t personally own either a gun or a pool, but I don’t see why owning the former is considered totally irresponsible parenting while not the latter.

    • Andrea

      Maybe because most people teach their kids to swim whether they have a pool or not. But I certainly haven’t taught my kid anything about guns because we don’t have any in our home. It is probably not the smartest thing to do, since it is obvious that a lot of people think it is a great idea to have one at home. So I guess I need to add “gun talk” to the list of things to cover with my sons.

      My fear with guns is this. I would assume most gun owners spend considerable time teaching their children gun safety. However, it has been my experience that when they get older (tween/teen) their combined IQ when a group of them get together starts diminishing to the point where it is entire possible for them to become legally mentally handicapped. I can totally see a responsible kid being talked into loading his father’s gun “just for fun, don’t be such a pussy”. And then disaster happens.

      I don’t see this happening with a pool in the back yard.

    • Lastango

      One good way to minimize the risk of juvenile packmind is to send your children to a firearms safety course. Pick one that involves actual range time.
      The people I’ve seen lose perspective on guns are the people who are utterly unfamiliar with them. They find guns mysterious, magical, and associated with power and success. I’m talking mostly about city kids — all the way up til their early 20′s. The expression on their faces the first time they see an actual gun is hard to describe, but suffice it to say they are transported to another reality. It’s their ignorance that makes them so dangerous.

  • lala

    A good friend of mine in high school had an enormous scar on his arm. When I asked him how he got it he told me that when he was 3 years old he found a gun in a family member’s room, and had no idea what he was doing when he shot it and the bullet ricocheted into his arm. He’s lucky it didn’t go somewhere else, like you know, his head. I think that having guns increases the probability for someone getting hurt due to the simple fact that guns can kill. If there’s no gun, you’re less likely to kill yourself or someone else, accidentally or on purpose, because the gun isn’t there. Period.

    I understand that people have guns to hunt, or for protection, or because they like them. I think that if you have guns they need to be kept in a locked case, free of bullets, with a lock on the gun itself and the bullets in a separate room. Those were my rules when my boyfriend bought himself a gun and we lived together. He let ME keep the bullets, even. He grew up in Nebraska, where guns were common. We lived together in Hollywood, where you don’t need a gun for anything at all. I just think that people who feel that they need a gun need to take as many precautions as possible to keep them out of the reach of children, and difficult (or impossible) to access in a situation where they might get extremely upset and more likely to use it at the spur of a moment.

  • Julia

    I seriously hope people recognize the difference between a home of a gun owner and a home where guns are left loaded/unlocked/accessible to a child. This article has absolutely nothing new and the AAP hasn’t unearthed a major discovery in saying that kids can get killed when they have access to loaded weapons. Please don’t use such broad labels. There’s a very irresponsible way to be a gun owner just like there’s very irresponsible ways to do just about anything else in your life. You could make this argument about anything from owning a dog to having a vehicle or keeping a home. How many kids ingest harmful chemicals each year? Oh- well that means RESPONSIBLE homeowners shouldn’t buy bleach anymore!

  • To Celebrate Women

    I do not and will likely never own a gun, but I live in an area with a lot of hunters so I understand that people want them. If you keep your guns locked up, teach kids basic safety, and generally take it seriously, I don’t see a problem, but it requires dedication and close supervision. And there is NO reason to own a gun that’s not meant for hunting.

    • Martin

      “”"And there is NO reason to own a gun that’s not meant for hunting. “”"
      Actually, you should read the Constitution and look up the Second Amendment.
      Also, I belive that every Citizen should have the capability to own and be trained in the use of firearms for protection. Not everyone wants to hunt, but everyone has the right to defend themselves with a firearm of their choice. It is the American way. To think otherwise is very unAmerican. I am not a big supporter of hunting, although, I get it and would never stop anyone from this sport. I just dont care to kill any animals. I am very interested in defending my family from home invaders.