Figures reported in the National Safety Council’s recently released “Injury Facts: 2017 Edition” show fatal firearm accidents for the latest reporting period—2014 to 2015—dropped to the lowest level since record keeping began in 1903. Overall, total accidental deaths were up by 8 percent from the previous year, although gun incidents dropped by 17 percent during the same period, a time when gun sales were soaring to all-new levels.
The study annually tabulates the causes of all reported accidental deaths across the United States—146,571 cases in this latest study. Only three-tenths of a percent are attributed to firearms in the findings, a number lower than even the previous year, when NRA-ILA reported it was 0.4 percent, “Today, the odds are more than a million to one against a child in the U.S. dying in a gun accident,” its findings state.
This year’s figures, particularly considering all the new gun owners, reflect the positive impact the industry’s emphasis on safety continues to make. NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program, for example, teaches pre-K through 3rd grade children if they see a gun, they should not touch it and should tell a grown-up immediately. The educational effort has spread the message since 1988 and it has been used by 26,000 schools, civic groups, and law enforcement agencies. More than 27 million children have learned the lesson. The industry-supported Project ChildSafe program, from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is also making a huge impact.
More than 125,000 NRA-certified instructors and range safety officers reach another 1 million program participants a year. If you, or someone you know, needs a refresher, NRA’s Education and Training Division is offering a course near you soon.
The number-one accidental killer from 2014 to 2015 was unintentional poisoning, a category largely driven by prescription painkillers. Twenty two thousand people die a year from it alone, or roughly 60 a day, according to the National Safety Council.