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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Statistics show more than one-third of children in the U.S. live in a home that also has a gun.
Now two new studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics are highlighting the need for gun safety and storage to help keep kids safe.
States that have strong gun laws are keeping kids safer, according to new research.
The study examined the number of children injured or killed by firearms nationwide and found states with the most lenient gun regulations had twice as many pediatric firearm deaths than states with the strictest gun laws.
The study also found states with child access prevention laws — like lock and storage requirements — had four times fewer firearm suicides among children.
“If you’re going to be a gun owner, we have to do it responsibly, and one of those things is preventing children from accessing guns,” Dr. Corrin Cross of the AAP said.
Another new study found that most kids can’t spot the difference between a toy gun and the real thing.
A toy gun at Upper Darby High School on Thursday prompted a lockdown.
Researchers say more than half of children surveyed — 59 percent — can’t tell the difference between a real gun and a fake one when shown side-by-side photos.
“So that means if they were to find a gun randomly, they’re not going to know if that’s a toy or a real gun without touching it and that’s the last thing we want a child to do,” Dr. Cross said.
AAP research also revealed more than half of kids in gun-owning homes know where the weapon is kept. All the more reason to ensure the gun is safely locked and stored, experts say.
However, the study also found fewer than half of firearm owners surveyed stored their gun locked, unloaded and in a different location from ammunition.