Firearm-related fatalities drop significantly.
Statistics in the council's 2007 "Injury Facts" report show a 40-percent decrease in accidental firearm-related fatalities over a 10-year period ending in 2005. The report also shows firearm-related accidents involving children ages 14 and under declined 69 percent between 1995 and 2003.
The council's most recent statistics show 109,277 U.S. residents died in accidents of all types in 2005. Less than 1 percent involved firearms. The most common deadly accidents involved motor vehicles, poisonings and falls, resulting in 75 percent of all accidental deaths.
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) officials point out that the downward trends are occurring even as firearm ownership rises in the United States. According to NSSF, the estimated number of citizen-owned firearms in the U.S. has risen to more than 290 million, while the number of American households with at least one firearm is now about 47.8 million.
"By continuing to heighten awareness of gun safety and responsible firearm storage, these record low numbers can be driven even lower," said Doug Painter, NSSF president.
NSSF directs and funds a number of industry initiatives focused on firearm safety, including Project ChildSafe, which, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, has distributed more than 35 million free gun-safety information kits, including gun locks, nationwide. NSSF also distributes safety literature and videos that emphasize outreach to schools. Additional support is provided for hunter-safety programs.
"Programs and efforts that communicate the importance of firearm safety have undeniably played a part in bringing these numbers to record lows, and continuing that awareness will only help ensure they continue downward," Painter said.
The declining trends reported by the National Safety Council are also supported by research available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, in the past decade, all four regions of the U.S. have witnessed dramatic declines in the number of accidental firearm-related fatalities.
Other new findings from the National Safety Council include:
* There were 730 accidental firearm-related fatalities in 2005, down from 750 reported in 2004. Firearm-related fatalities are down 40 percent from the 1,225 accidents reported in 1995.
* Accidental firearm-related fatalities among children ages 14 and under declined 7 percent in 2005 when compared to the previous year, and were down 69 percent between 1995 and 2003.
* Accidental firearm-related injuries were down 11 percent among teenagers (ages 15-19) when compared to the previous year.
* Accidental firearm-related fatalities continue to have the largest-percentage decrease of all measured types of accidental fatalities.