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Report: Guns are Preferred Method of Suicide for ID Kids

June 11, 2008

Boise, ID – Kids are getting caught in the crosshairs. New national numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more than 3,000 children and teenagers died from gun violence in a single year, 2005, the first increase in numbers since 1994. And in Idaho, kids are most likely to aim guns at themselves, with 11 of 16 deaths classified as suicides.

Susan Gates with Children's Defense Fund analyzed the statistics for a report released today.

"It's time that we step up and take action to stop the thousands of senseless firearms deaths of children and teens. The problem is solvable."

Gates says research has shown that just the presence of guns in the home boosts the risk of a child committing suicide. The American Medical Association recommends locking unloaded guns and storing ammunition separately if there are children in the home.

The state with the fewest child gun deaths is Hawaii, a state Gates also notes has some of the toughest gun laws.

"What we do know is that when gun laws are in effect, gun safety mechanisms, that deaths and accidents among children and teens go down dramatically."

The full report, "Protect Children, Not Guns," is at
www.childrensdefense.org.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ID