Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Guns and Kids: A Dangerous Mix


Recently a tragic death occurred from gun violence in Abbeville. It all started with a disagreement in
school followed by a home visit, intimidation and then a gun shot which killed a school child. We must
awaken to the violence of our society and the need for more preventive strategies particularly regarding
firearms. We can begin to prevent violent injuries by enforcing our present laws and perhaps making it even
tougher for our youth to get hold of guns. All families, if they have guns at home must keep their guns
locked up and their ammunition stored in a separate location. They should never be out in the open where
children know they can get them when their parents are gone. It is estimated that about 1.2 million
elementary aged latchkey children have access to guns in their home by the Journal of the American Medical
Association. We know that 50% of all kids who are accidently shot occur in their own homes and 38% in the homes of friends or relatives. A firearm in the home is 43 times more likely to kill friends or family than
an intruder, according to the New England Journal of medicine. 

About 100,000 children take guns to school every day and another 60,000 children stay home from school
because of fear of school violence. We must stop the violent cycle with wiser gun safety and control. With
200 million guns floating around in America and about 60 million hand guns there are just too many homicides, suicides and tragic accidents waiting to happen. The American Academy of Pediatrics would like us to be more aware of youth violence in our society and work together to silence the violence once and for all. The gun safety issue is just one of the many ways to decrease violence. Other important areas to remember are the amounts of violence seen on TV by most of our youth and the amount of violence in our homes which our youth grow up observing. Let's all make an effort to reverse this horrible trend in our society.  Our young people's lives are depending on it.