Accidental Firearm-related Fatalities Drop to All-time Low

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Accidental Firearm-related Fatalities Drop to All-time Low

A report from the National Safety Council shows that accidental firearm-related fatalities continue to decline and are at the lowest level in the history of record keeping. Statistics in the council’s “Injury Facts 2004” reveal a 54 percent decrease over a 10-year period ending in 2003.

Last year, 101,537 U.S. residents died in accidents of all types. Less than one percent, 700, involved firearms. The most common deadly accidents involved motor vehicles, falls and poisonings, claiming 72 percent of all accidental deaths.

"The continuing decline is good news that’s attributable to a number of factors, but certainly the overarching theme is increased awareness of gun safety and responsibility,” said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearm industry. NSSF directs a number of initiatives focusing on safety. The most visible is Project ChildSafe ®, which, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, has distributed more than 20 million free gun safety information kits, including gun locks, across the country.

NSSF also distributes safety literature and videos that emphasize outreach to schools. Additional support is provided for hunter safety programs. Learn more at or 203-426-1320.

Many other organizations, most notably the National Rifle Association, also effectively promote gun safety.

Painter added that NSSF, on behalf of the firearm industry, is committed to working toward continuing the downward trend in accidental firearm-related fatalities.

Other new findings from the National Safety Council include:

  • Accidental firearm-related fatalities have been consistently decreasing for many years
  • Preliminary statistics show accidental firearm-related fatalities declined by 13 percent between 2002 and 2003
  • Over the past seven years, accidental firearm-related fatalities among children (under 14) decreased 60 percent. Firearms are involved in less than two percent of accidental fatalities among children
  • Firearms are involved in less than 1 percent of all accidental fatalities

    NSSF, formed in 1961, is the trade association for the firearm industry. It directs a variety of outreach programs to promote greater participation and better understanding of shooting sports, emphasizing safe and responsible ownership of firearms. For further information, visit
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