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EAST: Stand-Your-Ground Law Linked to More Gun Injuries

Pediatric firearm assault injuries higher in states with a Stand-Your-Ground law

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- States with a Stand-Your-Ground (SYG) law have significantly more pediatric assault injuries due to firearms, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, held from Jan. 15 to 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Justin Lee, M.D., of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between pediatric hospitalizations due to firearm injuries, identified from the Kids' Inpatient Database (from 2006 and 2009) and the SYG and Child-Access Protection (CAP) laws.

The researchers identified 19,233 firearm injury hospitalizations, including 64.7 percent due to assault, 27.2 percent accidental, and 3.1 percent due to suicide injury. The mean age of patients was 17.57 years; the majority was male (88.4 percent) and from metropolitan areas (70.5 percent), while half were from the poorest income neighborhoods (50.1 percent). Cases of suicide injury were significantly more likely to be white and female. States with the SYG law were significantly more likely to have increased assault injuries (odds ratio, 1.274). No significant association was noted between the CAP law and the incidence of either accidental injury or suicide. The economic costs of pediatric firearm injuries amounted to more than $1 billion.

"A significant increase in assault injuries in states with the SYG law may highlight inadvertent effects of the law," the authors write. "Race, gender, and median income are additional significant factors. Advocacy and focused educational efforts for specific socioeconomic groups are needed."

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