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Daily Newscasts

Report: Mixing Guns And Kids a Deadly Equation

June 11, 2008

Milwaukee, WI – In a single year, 56 young people in Wisconsin died from gunfire. That's just one of the sobering statistics in a state-by-state report released today by the Children's Defense Fund. It analyzes child gun death data from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, for 2003 through 2005.

During that time period, the report says, child gun fatalities across the nation rose for the first time in more than a decade. Dr. Stephen Hargarten, director of the Firearm Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says it's not only a gun issue, but a public health issue.

"There have been more discussions about the public health approach that I'm encouraged by, and that I think will start to have some positive effects."

Hargarten claims to see evidence nearly every day that mixing guns and kids, without adult supervision, can be dangerous - or deadly -- and he believes access to guns must be controlled.

"Everyone agrees that people 15 - 16 years of age, as well as felons, shouldn’t get access to handguns. And yet we have venues for gaining access to lethal means that are not strictly regulated - like gun shows."

His organization advocates what Hargarten calls an "across-the-board" approach to gun access, which includes gun safety, awareness, and decision-making skills among young people. It will take leadership by public officials, he adds, to keep the numbers of gun deaths and injuries from increasing. Gun-rights groups are wary of new gun regulations, however, because of their potential to conflict with constitutional rights.

The report, "Protect Children, Not Guns," can be viewed online at

Jim Mishler/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WI