September 6, 2005
A loaded gun and a child in your home; it can be a deadly combination.
Which is why it may surprise you to hear that nearly two million children in the U.S. live in homes with loaded guns.
That is according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The new results seem high, but the numbers are down from the 1990's. In the study, 33 percent of adults nationwide admit to keeping guns in or around their home. Many even said they kept them loaded and unlocked, which is a serious danger to children who might mistake them for toys. Although Virginia residents have the right to own guns, police urge parents to use precautions.
"If you're going to have firearms in your home, especially with children, the safest thing to do is to keep your firearms unloaded and locked either with trigger locks or in some type of a locking gun cabinet or safe," said DJ Harris of the Charlottesville Police Department.
Most people can get gunlocks from most police stations for free. Gun safes can be purchased at gun stores for an average of $900. That may seem expensive, but it is a small price to pay in exchange for a little piece of mind.
In 2003, there were 798 gun-related deaths, and of those, men were 6 times more likely to be shot and killed. Nearly 1 in every 6 gun owners have a gun that is unlocked and loaded in their home.