The seventh leading “actual,” or preventable, cause of death
in the United States in 20001 was firearm injury,
ranked after tobacco, poor diet and physical activity, alcohol consumption,
microbial agents, toxic agents, and motor vehicle injury, and ahead of sexual
behavior and illicit drug use. Firearms are present in about one third of
US households.2 Children and adolescents may
be tempted to play or practice with firearms,3 and
those who have access to firearms sometimes handle them without adult supervision.4 Not surprisingly, the presence of a firearm in the
home is associated with an increased risk for suicide5- 7;
the relative risk of unintentional firearm injury is not known.
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