CHRISTMAS is a time for gift sharing. It is the custom to provide gifts that bring joy and enhance one’s life. For many, the gift of a gun will bring joy. The gun gift also surfaces the reality of joy tempered by the possibility of lethality.
- A gun in the home accounts for the second leading cause of death for all children and youth in the USA.
- More children under five are killed by guns than law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
- Toddlers with guns kill more Americans than foreign terrorists do.
- One third of all handguns are kept loaded and unlocked and most children know where their parents keep their guns.
- Nationally, 50% of households do not lock-up their guns, including 40% in households with children.
- An average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries.
- 3,410 children and teens died from guns in 2017.
- The presence of a gun in the home makes it five times more likely that a woman will be murdered by an abusive domestic partner.
- A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to shoot a family member (accident, homicide or suicide) than for self defense.
- A gun in the home doubles the risk of homicide and triples the risk of suicide.
- A person living in a home with a gun is three times more likely to commit suicide than someone who does not.
IN-HOME GUN SAFETY:
Fortunately, there are effective gun-safety measures we can advance.
- Install gun locks or cable loops on all guns.
- Store guns in steel locking case or safe.
- Make sure guns are unloaded.
- Store ammunition in a separate locked safe separate from guns.
- Take a gun safety course.
- Store keys to gun cabinets in a hidden location.
- Lock-up cleaning supplies which are often poisonous.
- Never leave a gun unattended.
- Parents, inquire about guns in your childrens friends’ homes.
- Children, if you come into contct with a gun, do not touch the gun, tell an adult and leave the area where the gun is found,
- If your friend or someone has a gun, leave the area and tell an adult and your parents.
Imagine your children as Jesus, and you as Mary and Joseph. The manger. New birth. Life’s preciousness. Responsibility. Love.
Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)
NOTATIONS: The top statistics are from Protect Minnesota and the Gifford’s Law Center. The safety measures are from WebMD, CBS Chicago, NRA, Kid’s Health and Childsafe.