Pediatric practice based evaluation of the Steps to Prevent Firearm Injury program.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of gun ownership and methods of gun storage in homes of pediatric patients before and after an educational intervention. DESIGN: Before and after trial. SETTING: Hospital based, inner city, pediatric primary care practice. PARTICIPANTS: Consecutive sample of parents of patients with appointments August to November 1994. INTERVENTION: Before the intervention, participants completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding ownership and storage of guns in their home. The intervention followed the Steps to Prevent Firearm Injury program of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It began after the parent completed the questionnaire and was reinforced at subsequent visits until July 1995. Families completing a baseline questionnaire and returning to the office July to October 1995 were resurveyed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Reported change in gun ownership and methods of storage. RESULTS: A gun(s) in the home was reported by 8.7% of respondents. Matched baseline and follow up questionnaires were available for 23.6% of families. In these, gun ownership reportedly decreased after intervention from 9.4% to 7.0%, handgun ownership fell from 5.4% to 3.0%, and long gun ownership fell from 6.1% to 5.5%. Storing guns outside of a locked container did not change from the baseline prevalence of 2.7%, but keeping any gun loaded fell from 1.6% to 0.5%. All p values were >0.05. CONCLUSION: This study was unable to demonstrate a statistically significant decline in gun ownership or improvement in gun storage after a practice based intervention designed to encourage these behaviors. (+info)
Comparing pediatric intentional injury surveillance data with data from publicly available sources: consequences for a public health response to violence.
OBJECTIVE: A hospital based intentional injury surveillance system for youth (aged 3-18) was compared with other publicly available sources of information on youth violence. The comparison addressed whether locally conducted surveillance provides data that are sufficiently more complete, detailed, and timely that clinicians and public health practitioners interested in youth violence prevention would find surveillance worth conducting. SETTING: The Boston Emergency Department Surveillance (BEDS) project was conducted at Boston Medical Center and the Children's Hospital, Boston. METHOD: MEDLINE and other databases were searched for data sources that report separate data for youth and data on intentional injury. Sources that met these criteria (one national and three local) were then compared with BEDS data. Comparisons were made in the following categories: age, gender, victim-offender relationship, injury circumstance, geographic location, weapon rates, and violent injury rates. RESULTS: Of 14 sources dealing with violence, only four met inclusion criteria. Each source provided useful breakdowns for age and gender; however, only the BEDS data were able to demonstrate that 32.6% of intentional injuries occurred among youth aged 12 and under. Comparison data sources provided less detail regarding the victim-offender relationship, injury circumstance, and weapon use. Comparison of violent injury rates showed the difficulties for practitioners estimating intentional injury from sources based on arrest data, crime victim data, or weapon related injury. CONCLUSIONS: Comparison suggests that surveillance is more complete, detailed, and timely than publicly available sources of data. Clinicians and public health practitioners should consider developing similar systems. (+info)
Handguns as a pediatric problem. 1986.
Handgun injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in American society, particularly for young people. Large numbers of children are affected by handgun violence through the loss of fathers, brothers, and other relatives. Young children are injured and sometimes killed in handgun accidents. Some children and many adolescents are murdered with handguns. Because of their great lethality and very limited ability to provide personal protection, the great burden of handgun injury can best be reduced by making handguns less available. Handgun control cannot reduce rates of crime or interpersonal assault, but it can be expected to reduce the frequency and severity of injury which grows out of these situations, to levels closer to the much lower ones found in other countries. Pediatricians can contribute to this effort, as they have to the efforts to reduce the morbidity and mortality from poisonings and motor vehicle passenger injury. (+info)
Firearm-associated deaths and hospitalizations--California, 1995-1996.
During 1995-1996, 27% of recorded injury-related deaths in California involved firearms (California Department of Health Services [CDHS], unpublished data, 1995-1996). In 1996, CDHS began passive surveillance of "severe" firearm-related injuries (i.e., resulting in death or hospitalization) with resources provided by the California Wellness Foundation. To characterize firearm-related injuries in California, CDHS analyzed death records and hospital discharge records for 1995 and 1996 (the most recent years for which population data are available to calculate rates). This report summarizes the results of the analysis, which indicate that most of the 21,985 firearm-related injuries and deaths resulted from assault. (+info)
Mortality among recent purchasers of handguns.
BACKGROUND: There continues to be considerable controversy over whether ownership of a handgun increases or decreases the risk of violent death. METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study to compare mortality among 238,292 persons who purchased a handgun in California in 1991 with that in the general adult population of the state. The observation period began with the date of handgun purchase (15 days after the purchase application) and ended on December 31, 1996. The standardized mortality ratio (the ratio of the number of deaths among handgun purchasers to the number expected on the basis of age- and sex-specific rates among adults in California) was the principal outcome measure. RESULTS: In the first year after the purchase of a handgun, suicide was the leading cause of death among handgun purchasers, accounting for 24.5 percent of all deaths and 51.9 percent of deaths among women 21 to 44 years old. The increased risk of suicide by any method among handgun purchasers (standardized mortality ratio, 4.31) was attributable entirely to an excess risk of suicide with a firearm (standardized mortality ratio, 7.12). In the first week after the purchase of a handgun, the rate of suicide by means of firearms among purchasers (644 per 100,000 person-years) was 57 times as high as the adjusted rate in the general population. Mortality from all causes during the first year after the purchase of a handgun was greater than expected for women (standardized mortality ratio, 1.09), and the entire increase was attributable to the excess number of suicides by means of a firearm. As compared with the general population, handgun purchasers remained at increased risk for suicide by firearm over the study period of up to six years, and the excess risk among women in this cohort (standardized mortality ratio, 15.50) remained greater than that among men (standardized mortality ratio, 3.23). The risk of death by homicide with a firearm was elevated among women (standardized mortality ratio at one year, 2.20; at six years, 2.01) but low among men (standardized mortality ratio at one year, 0.84; at six years, 0.79). CONCLUSIONS: The purchase of a handgun is associated with a substantial increase in the risk of suicide by firearm and by any method; the increase in the risk of suicide by firearm is apparent within a week after the purchase of a handgun. The magnitude of the increase and the relation between handgun purchase and the risk of death by homicide differ between men and women. (+info)
Homicide mortality in the United States, 1935-1994: age, period, and cohort effects.
The authors analyzed homicide mortality data for the United States from 1935 to 1994, to delineate temporal trends and birth cohort patterns. This study included 850,822 homicide-attributed deaths documented by the National Center for Health Statistics, and incorporated graphical presentation, median polish, and Poisson regression modeling in an age-period-cohort analysis. Death rates from homicide in the United States doubled in the past four decades, with most of the increase having occurred during the 1960s and early 1970s. Poisson regression models confirmed that the rise of homicide mortality in both men and women was largely attributable to a significant period effect between 1960 and 1974. No discernible cohort patterns were found among women. However, homicide rates for recent male birth cohorts appeared to peak at younger ages and at higher levels. A significant increase in homicide mortality risk beginning with males born around 1965 was found by examining the residuals of median polish, and the second-order changes in the regression coefficients from the age-period-cohort model. The hike of homicide mortality during 1985 and 1994 was explained by this cohort effect. Increased prevalence of substance abuse and availability of firearms are two likely factors underlying this disturbing cohort pattern. (+info)
Effects of Maryland's law banning Saturday night special handguns on crime guns.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of a 1988 Maryland law that banned "Saturday night special" handguns on the types of guns used in crime. To determine if controls on the lawful market for handguns affect the illegal market as well. SETTING: Baltimore, Maryland, and 15 other US cities participating in a crime gun tracing project. METHODS: Cross sectional comparison of the proportion of crime guns that are banned by the Maryland law, comparing Baltimore, MD with 15 other cities outside of Maryland. Multivariate linear regression analysis to determine if observed differences between Baltimore and 15 other cities are explained by demographic or regional differences among the cities rather than Maryland's law. RESULTS: Among crime guns, a gun banned by Maryland's law is more than twice as likely (relative risk (RR) 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0 to 2.5) to be the subject of a crime gun trace request in 15 other cities combined, than in Baltimore. Among homicide guns, a crime especially relevant for public safety, a comparable difference (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 4.2) was observed. The proportion of Baltimore's crime guns that are banned is 12 percentage points lower than would be expected based on its demographic and regional characteristics alone. Among crime guns purchased after 1990, a much smaller proportion in Baltimore are banned models than in 15 other cities. CONCLUSIONS: Maryland's law has reduced the use of banned Saturday night specials by criminals in Baltimore. Contrary to the claims of some opponents of gun control laws, regulation of the lawful market for firearms can also affect criminals. (+info)
Young guns: an empirical study of persons who use a firearm in a suicide or a homicide.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this investigation was to identify population groups at highest risk of using a firearm in a fatal incident. SETTING: Los Angeles County (California, USA). METHODS: Data were gathered from vital statistics reports and law enforcement records on the characteristics of suicide victims (n = 4799) and homicide suspects (n = 5369) from 1990 through 1994. Logistic regression was used to identify characteristics of the actor/perpetrator that were associated with firearm use. RESULTS: Persons less than 21 years old and males were more likely to use a firearm to kill themselves or someone else. Even when their other demographic attributes and characteristics of the incident itself were taken into consideration, persons under the age of 18 were substantially more likely than those 21 or more years old to use a firearm in the commission of a homicide (adjusted odds ratio = 2.59). Asians were less likely than white people to use a firearm in the commission of a suicide, whereas black people, Hispanics, and Asians were more likely than whites to use a firearm in the commission of a homicide. CONCLUSIONS: The US enacts and enforces some policies differentially by age. These data support the idea that such an approach may be warranted when addressing fatalities associated with the use of a firearm. Of particular interest, given minimum age requirements for firearm purchases, is the source of the weapons themselves. (+info)