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July 26, 2002

Gun Safety Programs for Children and Teens Not Effective

Teaching children and teens to stay away from guns, or behave responsibly on their own around guns, does not work, according to a report from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The report, “Children, Youth, and Gun Violence,” says that parents and policymakers should focus on keeping guns away from unsupervised children rather than trying to teach children not to play with guns when they are found.

The report recommended implementing programs to educate parents on proper gun safety and on how to keep their children safe from guns. In addition, it suggested that new product safety standards be implemented to make guns harder to fire and that policymakers should implement tighter restrictions on gun sales, safe gun designs and product safety regulations.

“It may be shocking to the public to think that toy guns and other toys are scrutinized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, while real guns, with the potential to do so much harm, are not,” said Stephen P. Teret, JD, MPH, an author of the report and professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Professor Teret is also the immediate past director at the School’s Center for Gun Policy and Research and current director of the Center for Law and the Public’s Health.

The “Children, Youth, and Gun Violence” report is the most recent issue of The Future of Children, a journal of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Professor Teret was the issue editorial advisor and also co-authored the report’s article “Product-Oriented Approaches to Reducing Youth Gun Violence.”

The Future of Children report, “Children, Youth, and Gun Violence.”

Report Summary

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham @ 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.