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Ohio in Top Ten for Gun Deaths of Children and Teens

September 16, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new report on children and gun violence is shining a negative light on the Buckeye State. It says Ohio was ranked number 10 in the nation for firearm deaths of children and teens in 2007, with a total of 104 deaths, including 65 homicides. Toby Hoover, executive director with the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, says children today are growing up in a society that has normalized and even glamorized violent behavior.

"We just say it's normal to have all our entertainment and our games that are violent. And we also say it's normal behavior for people to be carrying around guns. Well, we're just developing and encouraging this culture of violence."

The report from the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), entitled "Protect Children, Not Guns 2010," also found that for the first time since data started to be collected in 1979, gun deaths of black children and teens surpassed gun deaths of white children and teens.

Barbara Turpin with the CDF-Ohio is calling for reforms across the board to protect children and teens.

"It's been shown that states with higher rates of gun ownership and weak gun control laws have the highest rates of firearm deaths so we need to get the federal and state legislative processes involved here to come up with stronger, common sense gun laws."

Turpin adds that gun violence, especially in poor communities, can drive young people into the pipeline to prison.

"The exposure to gun violence puts a youth at a higher risk of actually being involved themselves, either as a victim, or as a perpetrator of gun violence."

The report recommends policy changes that would limit the number of guns in communities, control who can obtain firearms, and ensure that guns in the home are stored safely and securely.

Full report: www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/protect-children-not-guns.html.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH