NEWTOWN, Conn.—The National Shooting Sports Foundation is pleased to report that unintentional firearm fatalities reached their lowest level ever, according to the latest data from the National Safety Council’s just-released Injury Facts Report 2018.
NSSF, as the trade association for the firearm industry and leading proponent of safe gun handling and storage, applauded the report, which shows fatal firearm accidents at their lowest level since record keeping began in 1903. The firearm industry has for the last two decades provided more than 100 million firearm locking devices with new firearms sold and through its award-winning Project ChildSafe program—the largest and most comprehensive firearm safety program in the country. The industry’s educational materials are widely distributed to gun owners by firearm manufacturers, retailers, instructors and others nationwide.
“As an industry that prioritizes firearm safety, it is extremely good news to see this record decline in gun-related accidents,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO. “It’s gratifying to know that our industry’s gun safety efforts, including our long-running Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program, are contributing to helping save lives.”
With approximately 100 million gun owners in the country, the data demonstrates that firearms can be safely owned and used and accidents prevented as long as secure storage guidelines are followed. “Securely storing firearms when not in use is the No. 1 way to help prevent accidents, thefts and misuse,” said Bartozzi.
The National Safety Council data showed that for 2018 there were 458 firearm fatalities, accounting for less than 1 percent of unintentional fatalities from all principal causes. In the last two decades (1998-2018) accidental firearm deaths have declined by 47 percent. “Even one accidental firearm fatality is one too many,” said Bartozzi. “We’re aiming for zero, and this is great progress.”
With reports of many people purchasing their first firearm due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, Bartozzi reminds new gun owners to use the safety device that came packaged with their new firearm when their gun is not under their direct control, to strongly consider using an additional safety device such as a lock box or lockable gun case, and to take advantage of the many gun safety resources at ProjectChildSafe.org, such as this video on the 10 commandments of firearm safety.
Also, with so many children at home because of COVID-19-related school closures, Bartozzi encourages parents to take time to have “the talk” with their kids about gun safety and to use tools such as the McGruff on Gun Safety videos and a video on how parents can talk to their children about gun safety on the Project ChildSafe website.
Learn more at ProjectChildSafe.org.