Kids and Guns, a Coffee and Conversation at St. James Episcopal Church





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By Lynne Beauchamp, lbeauchamp@thesuntimesnews.com

Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children in America.

This information comes from Dr. Patrick Carter, U of M Emergency Medicine and guest speaker during Dexter’s St. James Coffee and Conversation, Kids and Guns that took place May 3.



Dr. Carter along with guest speaker Dr. Marc Zimmerman, U of M School of Public Health, presented information during the conversation of firearm injury prevention among children.

Dr. Zimmerman added that approximately twelve kids are killed every day as a result of firearms and school shootings only represent about 1% of firearm related deaths for children. They added homicides and suicides among children by use of firearms are higher in the US than most other countries.

The speakers added that some youth in the US are more at risk than others. Male youth (based on impulsivity and other factors) are in the higher risk category as well as certain ethnicities (based on a variety of factors). They added urban communities see more homicides and rural communities experience more suicides.

Carter added that firearm injuries in all age groups account for about $229 billion per year in expenses, more than Apple’s annual revenue.

The speakers added that the majority of child related gun issues begin in the home.

“9 out of 10 unintentional shootings occur in the home setting, 8 out of 10 suicides and 4 out of 10 homicides,” said Carter adding the statistics show the presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk to all occupants of the home, regardless of mental health history and firearm training.

“We are not here to talk about how to take firearms away from people,” said Zimmerman. “This is about gun safety.”

The speakers added that, despite whatever may happen at a legislative level on gun safety, gun safety can begin at home by keeping guns secure and locked and made unavailable to children, whether in a gun safe or by using a firearm cable lock.

St. James hosts a series of conversations on a variety of topics. For details, visit stjamesdexter.org.

“We do this because we are interested in justice and peace in the world, we are interested in respecting the dignity of every human being and we are interested in making sure everybody has the life to live that they were meant to live,” said Pastor Carol Mader of St. James.

In a separate interview it was noted that many police departments have available, at no charge, cable locks for firearms to anyone wishing to have one. A call to the Chelsea Police Department confirmed this and that all one has to do is stop at the Chelsea Police Department and ask. Availability of cable locks may vary and those interested in a firearm cable lock may contact any police department.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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