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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Firearms fact sheet

Storing firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, can reduce the risk of injuries and deaths involving children and teens.

For information about the effectiveness of safe storage and other research, visit our Firearm Safety Research page.

Washington state firearm statistics
  • 1,448 people in Washington, including 152 children and youth (age 17 or younger), were hospitalized for firearm-related injuries from 2007 to 2011.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Nonfatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)

  • 2,874 people in Washington, including 106 children and youth (age 17 or younger), died as a result of firearms from 2007 to 2011.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Fatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)
Children and youth
The Impact of Firearms on King County’s Children: 1999 – 2012 coverpage
Download the report:
The Impact of Firearms on King County’s Children: 1999 – 2012
Storing firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, can help keep guns out of the hands of our children and teens.

At our schools:

  • During the 2011-2012 school year, the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction reported 84 incidents involving a firearm on school premises, transportation systems, or school facilities.
    ...(WA Superintendent of Public Instruction, Weapons in Schools Ten Year Trend Report)

  • In 2012, over 17% of 8th grade students, over 20% of 10th grade students and almost 23% of 12th grade students in Washington state reported it was "sort of easy" or "very easy" to get a handgun.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Healthy Youth Survey 2012, March 2013)

  • In a 2011 survey, it was found that 5.3% of youth (1,865 respondents) in grades 9-12 in Seattle reported having carried a gun in the 30 days prior to the survey.

  • In a 2003 CDC report, 60.9% of firearms used in school-associated homicides or suicides in the U.S. came from the perpetrator's home or from a friend or relative.

In our homes:

  • In 2009, firearms were present in approximately 24% of King County households (183,300 homes), the largest percentage in 13 years. Among households with firearms, an estimated 23.2% (39,100 households) stored them loaded and 14.7% (25,095 households) stored them loaded AND unlocked.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Jan. 2011)

  • In 2009 an estimated 5,800 King County children lived in homes where firearms were stored loaded and unlocked.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Jan. 2011)

  • A study found that 49% of households with adolescents only (aged 13-17 years) stored a firearm unlocked versus 29% of those who also had younger children (aged 0-12 years).

  • Parent perceptions of children's behavior with firearms do not predict actual behavior. One study with boys revealed that despite parent estimates of their child's interest or likelihood to play with a real handgun, children estimated to have "low interest" were as likely to play with or pull the trigger as children perceived to have "moderate to high interest." Another study revealed that parents living in homes with firearms who reported their children had never handled a firearm in their homes were contradicted by their child's self-report.
Violence

Storing firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, can reduce the risk of injuries and deaths involving children and teens.

  • In Washington state, a child or teen is killed by gunfire every 8 days.
    ...(Children's Defense Fund, Children in Washington Factsheet, March 2013)

Suicide:

  • Firearms are the primary method of suicide in Washington state.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Fatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)

  • From 2007 – 2011, 107 youth (age 17 or younger) committed suicide in Washington; 49 of these youth (36%) died from firearms. During this period, 22 youth committed suicide in King County; 8 youth (36%) used firearms.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Fatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)

  • A study of adolescent suicides found that over half were carried out with guns from the adolescent's home. More than 75% of the firearms used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or friend.

Homicide and crime:

  • In 2012, 57% of homicides in Washington state were committed with firearms.
    ...(Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, Crime in WA 2012 Annual Report, 2013)

  • From 2007-2011, 76 homicides occurred among youth (ages 5-17) in Washington; 48 of these youth (63%) died as a result of firearms.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Fatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)

  • During the same period, 101 youth (ages 5 – 17) were hospitalized for firearm assault injuries in Washington; 42% (42 youth) of these house hospitalizations occurred in King County.
    ...(WA Department of Health, Nonfatal Injury Data Tables, March 2013)

  • Firearms valued at $4,569,906.00 were reported stolen in Washington in 2012.
    ...(Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, Crime in WA 2012 Annual Report, 2013)