Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

In Minnesota, day care providers can keep guns in the home

Readers of this blog know how many times we write about young children getting access to guns and shooting someone or themselves. There are way too many tragedies with guns and children. Now this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune reveals that home based day care providers keep guns in their homes and there is not much anyone can do about it. From the article:
At Minnesota's 1,500 licensed child-care centers, guns are banned. Violators can face felony prosecution, with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The last known gun incident at center-based care occurred in 2004, according to the state Department of Human Services (DHS).
At home-based day care, by contrast, guns are restricted during business hours and must be unloaded and locked away. Penalties are uneven. Some providers who leave guns accessible in their homes are given correction orders but no fines.
In addition, parents who depend on licensed in-home providers are often in the dark about the presence of firearms because state law does not require providers to disclose whether they have guns in their homes. (...) 
Several incidents uncovered by a Star Tribune investigation involved family members or acquaintances of the day care provider. In a 2008 incident at a Lakeville home, someone living at the provider's home set off an improvised explosive device that partially tore off two of the person's fingers. When police arrived at the home after the 4 a.m. blast, they discovered bomb-making materials and a shotgun.
Many of the violations involve providers who leave guns accessible to children. In 2010, a day care provider in Hector, Minn., left a gun propped against the wall of a bedroom where children slept. A provider in a Bloomington home was cited in 2008 and again in 2010 for leaving guns accessible to children in her garage.
Three states -- Michigan, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania -- require in-home providers to notify parents if there are guns in the house, according to a 2008 study by the National Association for Regulatory Administration.
Kerber said his agency will review Minnesota's disclosure policies after questions were raised by the Star Tribune.
Let's hope the policies are very carefully reviewed. There should be no ifs, ands or buts about this one. Small children should not have access to loaded guns-period!

In a related blog post, more examination of this concern is here:
As of 2008, the American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry noted:
Children and Guns
Adopted by Council on October 28, 2000 Updated May, 2008To be reivewed May, 2013 
Children and adolescents have easy access to guns. Over 5% of high school students indicated that they carried a gun in the past month, and it is estimated that approximately one million children bring guns to school each year. Many students who carry guns do so because they are afraid or influenced by peer pressure. 
The United States has the highest rates of firearm-related deaths among industrialized countries, including homicide, suicide and unintentional deaths; young people are often the victims. Gun violence accounts for over 3,000 deaths and over 15,000 injuries each year among children and adolescents. The rate of firearm-related homicides for U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 16 times greater than the rates in 25 other industrialized countries combined. 
And the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, on their web page notes:
Where and when:
Most unintentional firearm-related deaths among children occur in or around the home; 50 percent at the home of the victim, and 40 percent at the home of a friend or relative.
The presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of unintentional firearm-related death among children (especially if the firearm is loaded and kept unlocked).
Most unintentional firearm-related child deaths involve guns that were loaded and accessible, and occur when children play with the gun.
More than one-half of firearm owners keep their firearms loaded and ready for use some of the time.
Most unintentional shootings among children occur in the late afternoon, on the weekend, during summer months, and during the holiday season, when children are most likely to be unsupervised.
Rural areas have higher incidences of unintentional firearm-related injuries, as well as higher rates of firearm ownership.
Approximately 3.3 million children in the US live in households with firearms that are, at times, kept loaded and unlocked.
Boys are more likely to suffer unintentional firearm-injuries or die from an unintentional shooting than girls. Nearly 80 percent of children ages 14 and under who die from unintentional shootings are boys.
As many as 75 percent to 80 percent of first and second graders know where their parents' gun is kept.
Some 3-year-olds are strong enough to pull the trigger of many handguns.
Every gun in the hands of a child or teen must first pass through the hands of an adult. Kids and guns are not a good mix.

1 comment:

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