Unintentional Firearm Fatalities Reach All-Time Low

The NSSF suggests locking up guns that are not in use to keep unauthorized persons, like children, from accessing. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

A new report from the National Safety Council shows unintentional firearm fatalities have hit a record low, accounting for only 1% of all firearm fatalities in 2018.

The National Safety’s Council Injury Facts Report 2018, a reference resource for safety statistics, reported that preventable or accidental gun-related deaths totaled only 458 cases in 2018 — the lowest figure since the organization began record-keeping in 1903.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearm industry, said the data proves that safety education programs, like its own Project ChildSafe, are working.

“As an industry that prioritizes firearm safety, it is extremely good news to see this record decline in gun-related accidents,” Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO, said in a news release. “It’s gratifying to know that our industry’s gun safety efforts, including our long-running Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program, are contributing to helping save lives.”

Preventable accidents have steadily decreased over the years with a 44% decline from 1999 to 2018. With approximately 100 million gun owners in the U.S., the NSSF says this figure proves that education on safe handling paired with proper gun storage is the key to safe gun ownership.

“Securely storing firearms when not in use is the No. 1 way to help prevent accidents, thefts, and misuse,” Bartozzi added.

As the Coronavirus drives new gun owners into stores and online gun retailers, the NSSF encourages those new to gun ownership to consider using safety devices such as a lockbox or lockable gun case to secure guns from children. The NSSF also suggests parents take the time to talk to their kids about gun safety as well as learn the basic safety rules for gun handling which include:

  • 1. Always point a firearm in a safe direction.
  • 2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • 3. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Keep it unloaded until you’re ready to use it.
  • 4. Know your target and what’s around it, including beyond it.

New gun owners can check out the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe for more information, resources, and tools on securing guns from children and how to talk to kids about gun safety.

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