Accidental firearm fatalities in a metropolitan county (1958-1974)

Category: Behavior, Defensive Gun Use, Unintentional|Journal: American Journal of Epidemiology (full text)|Author: A Ford, C Hirsh, L Adelson, N Rushforth|Posted On: January 01,1974

A study of accidental firearm fatalities in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, (Metropolitan Cleveland) from 1958–1973, inclusive, has shown a threefold increase in the rate of such deaths since 1967. They are more frequent in the central city than in the suburbs, show a male preponderance, are more common in nonwhites, have a peak prevalence in the 25–34-year age range and usually happen in the home. Approximately half of the adult victims had been drinking alcoholic beverages when shot. It is hypothesized that the frequency of accidental firearm fatalities is primarily related to the number of guns, particularly handguns, in civilian possession. The data indicate that a loaded firearm in the home is more likely to cause an accidental death than to be used as a lethal weapon against an intruder.