5/12/2013

What is the risk of a six year old dying from an accidental gun shot?

Lisa Maxbauer recently wrote a piece in the New York Times worrying about her six-year old visiting homes of gun owners.  Here are some numbers from the CDC for both six year olds and those under age 10.



For other ways of accidental deaths, the numbers are as follows:







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4 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne Libourel said...

In your data boxes above, you state the number of deaths of children per 100,000. Does your actual figure (for example, 36 for ages 0-9) mean 36 per 100,000?

8/06/2013 8:50 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

No, Suzanne, when it says "number of deaths," it means what it says "the number of deaths." In the case you ask, that means there were 36 accidental gun deaths. Where it says "rate" that is the rate per 100,000 people.

8/06/2013 10:18 PM  
OpenID f9d04494-a617-11e3-b9b4-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Dear Mr. Lott, I have been collecting data on accidental shootings involving children--making use of Gooogle news alerts--since May 2013. As of today (in 10 months and 1 week) there have been at least 48 children ages 0-9 that have died in gun accidents (I say at least, because several were reported to be in critical condition, with no follow up reports). It thus looks like we can expect 55-60 such deaths for the year ending April 31 2014, equal to or greater than the 2010 figures you cite for accidental falls and poisoning. There are two possible explanations I see for this much larger number of accidental shooting as compared to the 2010 CDC figure: 1) Accidental shootings have risen dramatically since 2010; or 2) As reported recently in the New York times, accidental shootings are under reported to the CDC because coroners often use the technically accurate but misleading term of "homocide" for this type of shooting? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/children-and-guns-the-hidden-toll.html?_r=1&
Which of these two hypotheses do you think best explains the apparent rise?
FYI, for 6 year olds, I have collected reports of 6 accidental shooting deaths over the same period mentioned above, compared to 1 in 2010 according to CDC.
Thank you for your comments.

3/07/2014 11:46 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear OpenID f9d04494-a617-11e3-b9b4-000bcdcb8a73:
As regarding your point #2, note that reporter never called up the CDC to get their explanation for how different events were classified. Just so you know, initial news stories might not accurately reflect what happened with those events. There are plenty of news stories where it is pretty obvious that the events couldn't have occurred the way that they were initially reported (e.g., I have seen news stories where a 3 year supposedly loaded a semi-automatic handgun, which even if they had known how load the magazine, there is no way that a child under 10 would have the strength to pull back the slide to load the first bullet in the chamber). Can you explain why the reporter didn't call up the CDC to discuss the difference in the cases? It seemed like journalistic malpractice to me, but possibly you have an explanation for the New York Times' typical behavior.

3/08/2014 4:01 PM  

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