Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Accidental shootings skyrocket after Christmas; most involve boys and young men

Accidental shootings spike during holidays, especially around Christmas, according to an analysis by USA Today and The Associated Press. Ryan J. Foley and Meghan Hoyer report for AP that last year during the period between Christmas and New Year's Day, 59 people were injured and 32 killed as a result of unintentional shootings. (AP/USA Today graphic: Accidental shootings per day involving minors from January 2014 to June 30, 2016)
Of the 59 victims shot during last year's Christmas holidays, they "were mostly male and young, with a median age of 19," AP report. "Nearly half the shootings were self-inflicted and most occurred in their own homes." Rural residents are twice as likely as urban ones (39 percent to 18 percent) to own guns, says the Pew Research Center.

Analysis found several reasons for a spike in accidental shootings around Christmas: children and teenagers are out of school and have access to unsecured guns; adults are drinking alcohol and inattentive to gun safety or their children; new guns were given and received as gifts in the tens of thousands; and it’s a popular time to go hunting.

An earlier investigation by AP and USA Today "found that accidental shootings involving children happen far more often than federal government statistics show," reports AP. Based on incidents compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, they found that "more than 320 minors age 17 and under and more than 30 adults were killed in accidental shootings involving minors. Nearly 700 other children and 78 adults were injured."

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