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AAP renews its support for strict gun control

Removing firearms from homes and restricting the sale of handguns in communities will help to counter the destructive effects of gun violence on the lives of children, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in a new policy statement.

The announcement reaffirms AAP's commitment to the regulation of firearms and their manufacture and to the education of parents and caregivers about the risks to children when guns are present in the home.

The AAP advises child health care professionals to advocate for the "strongest possible" legislation and regulation of gun sales and permits and to support law enforcement efforts to keep guns out of the hands of minors. Pediatricians should counsel parents about the dangers of allowing children to have access to guns in the home; recommend the use of trigger locks, gun safes, and locking storage boxes to keep firearms away from children; and advise parents to remove guns from the home if their children or adolescents have mood disorders, substance abuse problems, or a history of suicide attempts.

The AAP also supports restoration of the ban on the sale of high-powered assault weapons to the general public.

Firearm-related deaths, including those from homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury, are rated as 1 of the top 3 causes of mortality among US children aged from birth to 19 years.

Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention Executive Committee. Firearm-related injuries affecting the pediatric population. Pediatrics. 2012. Epub ahead of print.

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