3252.0: Monday, November 13, 2000 - Board 6

Abstract #5546

State Gun Levels and Violent Death among 5-14 year Olds, 1988-1997

Matthew J Miller, MD, MPH, ScD, Deborah Azrael, MS, PhD, and David Hemenway, PhD. Health Policy & Management, Harvard University, 677 Huntington Ave, Room 442, Kresge Building, Boston, MA 02115, 671 432 1459, mmiller@hsph.harvard.edu

Objective: To explore, for the first time, the association between state firearm levels and rates of unintentional firearm deaths, suicide and homicide among children 5-14 years old, accounting for several potential confounders.

Methods: The study used pooled cross sectional time-series data on unintentional firearm deaths, suicide and homicide for the 50 United States from 1988 -1997. Negative binomial models were used to estimate the association between firearm availability and violent death among 5-14 year olds.

Results: A statistically significant and robust association exists between gun availability and unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, firearm homicides, suicides and firearm suicides among children. Non-firearm homicides and non-firearm suicides were not associated with a state's level of firearms. Multivariable analysis found that compared to states with the lowest gun levels, states with the highest gun levels had, on average, 15 times the rate of unintentional firearm deaths, 6 times the rate of firearm suicides, 4 times the rate of firearm homicides, and more than 2 times the rate of total suicide and homicide.

Conclusion: Of the 7,000 children 5-14 years killed with firearms between 1988 and 1997, a disproportionate number died in states where guns are more prevalent. Our results suggest that elevated rates of suicide and homicide among children living in states with more guns is significantly driven by lethal firearm violence, not by non-firearm violence, and that the increased risk of intentional and unintentional violent death among these children is not entirely explained by a state's level of poverty, education, urbanization, or unemployment.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to: 1.Recognize the toll of firearm deaths among children 5-14 yeras old in the United States 2.Discuss the relationship between state-level gun availability and violent death among children 5-14 years old. 3. Identify limitations in current measures of gun availability

Keywords: Children, Firearms

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA