Guns in the Home

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Statistics on the National Safe Kids Campaign Website reveals that "Americans possess nearly 200 million firearms, including 65 million handguns. Approximately one-third of families with children (representing more than 22 million children in 11 million homes) keep at least one gun in the home. Gun owners keep firearms in the home for hunting and recreation (60 percent) or for protection and crime prevention (40 percent)". Although 40 percent seems to be on the minority, households with guns are at higher risk of homicide, and there are few beneficial effects of gun ownership; as a result, alternative methods for crime prevention and protection should be adopted.

The most startling examples of these risks usually involve children. Children are very curious and will stop at nothing to discover new ideas. When they play, it is normal for them to move about and find bits and pieces around the house. This innocent, normal behavior becomes dangerous when children start finding guns hidden or lying around. A typical story was told by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization working together for nuclear disarmament, (PSR) when "three-year-old Billy Higgins sat in the corner of his parent's bedroom, trembling and confused, a gun having just gone off in his hand. His 2 year old sister, Anne Marie, lay motionless on her back, a small hole in her chest. While playing with his sister, Billy had found his father's loaded handgun in a bedroom drawer. The father, John Higgins, never dreamed his small children were capable of finding or using his gun. He was wrong. And his daughter died". ("Billy Higgins") Obviously, John Higgins thought that he had his gun only accessible to himself, and even if his kids found it, they would not be able to shoot it. However, the National Safe Kids Campaign website shows that "Children as young as age 3 are strong enough to pull the trigger of many of the handguns available in the United States".

Not only are children at...
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