MS Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics takes stand against firearm negligence

Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 11:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is taking a stand against gun negligence.

The group said firearm-related injuries have risen 40% over the last four years in Mississippi. This includes a rise in firearm injuries among children 15 and younger.

“Firearm deaths have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death in children aged one through eighteen,” MSAAP President Dr. Anita Henderson said.

According to CDC data, the state has the highest firearm mortality rate in the country.

It’s something Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones is all too familiar with.

“During my career in law enforcement, I’ve had to work several deaths involving firearm-related incidents, negligence with firearms, and children getting their hands on firearms,” Sheriff Jones said.

While it’s probably not on the list of things you’re used to talking about with your doctor, it could be in just a matter of time. In a statement, the group said it’s encouraging all physicians across the state to talk about gun safety with their patients.

Dr. Henderson said some of these deaths can be prevented if the guns are stored properly, especially in those involving kids.

“Children are sneaky. They know how to get into things,” she said. You would be surprised how many children know the combinations of those gun safes. They know where the locks are, and they know where the guns are. We want to make sure parents are being diligent within their homes about locking up those guns.”

Henderson said that’s especially important for parents with children who show signs of depression or anxiety.

“A suicide that has actually happened is four times more likely if there’s a gun within the home,” she said. “Kids are impulsive, and they do things without really thinking through the consequences.”

It’s advice Sheriff Jones hopes to see all gun owners take seriously.

“One incident is too many,” he said.

The sheriff added that he’s happy to see a stakeholder like MSAAP promoting gun safety. He said if there’s anything his department can do to help with the effort, he looks forward to doing it.

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