Guns and Children, Letter in today's NY Times
Jane E. Brody’s column claiming that people should store their guns locked and unloaded is dangerous advice and will lead to more deaths (“Is Your Child a Split Second from Disaster?”). Her discussion focuses on accidental gun deaths in the home, but 85 percent of the fatality number she misleadingly points to involve homicides. Surely a concern, but locking up guns in law-abiding homes is unrelated to stopping drug gangs from murdering one another.
Despite her claim, adult males with criminal records and histories of alcoholism or drugs are the ones firing the guns that accidentally kill most young children.
Gun locks won’t stop adult criminals from firing their own guns, but they will prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves.
John R. Lott Jr.
Brody's original column can be found here.
Brody tries to correct one of the errors that I point to, but she made it worse. The correction added on August 2nd states: "The Personal Health column in Science Times yesterday, about gun safety, included an incorrect statistic from a medical journal on firearm deaths. They make up about 10 percent of deaths caused by injury among children aged 5 to 14, not 10 percent of all deaths in that age group."
You can find the CDC numbers on this issue here. In 2003, the total number of accidental deaths for children aged 5 to 14 was 2,618. The number of children who died from guns was 49. This is less than 2 percent.