Unintentional gun injuries, firearm design, and prevention: what we know, what we need to know, and what can be done

J Urban Health. 2002 Mar;79(1):49-59. doi: 10.1093/jurban/79.1.49.


The public health community has long recognized unintentional gun injuries as a public health issue. In 1998 in the United States, 866 people died from unintentional gunshot wounds, resulting in a crude death rate of 0.32 per 100,000. Unintentional gun deaths have been declining since at least 1920, yet the reasons for this downward trend are not understood. Possible explanations, such as changes in gun ownership and demography, changes in access to guns among population subgroups, safety practices, and artifactual influences are discussed. Intervention strategies for reducing the risk of unintentional gun injury are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents / mortality*
  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Equipment Design*
  • Female
  • Firearms* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Safety
  • Social Control Policies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Health
  • Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control*