Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints

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Studies show most children have easy access to guns

Most young people access guns from their own homes. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Most young people access guns from their own homes. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Bradley Friedman, Staff Writer

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A majority of gun-related incidents involving teenagers happen with guns from their own homes.

According to an NVISS study of firearm conflicts among young people ages 17 and under occurring over a two-year period, 82 percent used a firearm belonging to a family member, usually a parent.

Several students at NDP report they use guns for hunting and personal safety.

Take senior Danielle Olson for instance. She said, “I learned how to properly use a gun when I was eight years old. My grandfather was in the military, and he would take me to the shooting range.”

According to another study by the NVISS, about two-thirds of firearms inside homes are stored unlocked. Among the remaining cases in which the firearms had been locked, children knew the combination, knew where their parents kept the key or broke into the cabinet.

NRA studies show parents sometimes underestimate their children’s experience handling guns at home. Among gun-owning parents who reported that their children had never handled their firearms at home, 22 percent of the children said that they had.

Behind automobile accidents, unsafe access to guns in the home is the second leading cause of death among U.S. children and teens, according to The Truth About Kids & Guns.

The research suggests that having a gun in the home dramatically increases the danger of gun related violence. However, senior Cole Hicks said, “Our guns are always kept unloaded in a locked vault and are only taken out during hunting season. They have always served one purpose in my family.”

According to The Truth About Kids & Guns, “Every day, 48 children are wounded or killed by gunfire. One of the most significant ways we can address this serious public health and safety issue is to educate parents about the risks of unsafe access to guns.”

According to statistics collected by Handgun Control, it is estimated that 24 percent of households have at least one handgun. That would be about one in four households. The NRA estimates that about half of American homes have some sort of firearms.

The risks of improper firearms handling need to be taken into consideration. Children will not have easy access to loaded weapons if the appropriate safety measures are instituted. 

According to an independent investigation conducted at UC San Francisco, gun ownership in the United States is higher than anywhere else in the world, and firearms cause an estimated 31,000 deaths each year.

Firearms play a significant role in homicide, accounting for slightly more than two-thirds of homicide deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research from UCSF suggests that when gun owners and handlers receive the proper training in safety, guns can be used in proper ways.

Senior Bryce Wolfe said, “I learned about gun safety when I took my hunter safety class. My family owns around thirteen guns, and I have grown up around guns my entire life.”

Guns by their very nature are dangerous. When youth have not been taught the proper safety protocol for handling a weapon, violence can ensue. Guns can be used for recreation and leisure, but more must be done in order to ensure they remain out of the hands of young people who might use them for the wrong purposes.

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Studies show most children have easy access to guns