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1976 to 2016 Saw Drop in Firearm Ownership in Families

However, proportion of white families who have young children and own handguns increased

child and handgun

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- From 1976 to 2016, there was a decrease in the proportion of families who had young children and owned firearms, although an increase was seen in the proportion who owned handguns, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Pediatrics.

Kate C. Prickett, Ph.D., from the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, and colleagues merged individual-level data from the National Vital Statistics System with household-level data from the General Social Survey to create national-level estimates of firearm-related child mortality and family firearm ownership from 1976 to 2016.

The researchers noted a decrease in the proportion of non-Hispanic white families who had young children and owned firearms, from 50 percent in 1976 to 45 percent in 2016; among non-Hispanic African-American families, the decrease was from 38 to 6 percent. There was an increase in the proportion of white families who had young children and owned handguns, from 25 to 32 percent; 72 percent of families who own firearms now own handguns. The recent increase in firearm-related white child mortality was partially explained by increases in handgun ownership (net of changes in the sociodemographic composition of firearm-owning families).

"In an era in which firearm-related deaths constitute a public health crisis, the rising firearm-related young child mortality rate in the context of declining firearm ownership highlights the importance of understanding the factors that drive firearm-related deaths," the authors write.

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