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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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21,000 Americans injured every year by BB guns, report says

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – More than 21,000 Americans suffer injuries related to non-powder guns every year, according to a report released last week. A small percentage of these cases, result in hospitalization.

The report released by the Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention highlighted the dangers of non-powder guns including air rifles, BB guns, and paintball guns. In 2000, almost half of these injuries occurred in children between the ages of five and 14.

Between 1990 and 2000, there were 39 non-powder gun related deaths, 32 of which were children under the age of 15 according to the report published in November’s issue of Pediatric. The report came out just two weeks after an 8-year-old boy from South Carolina was accidentally killed by his friend using a BB gun. Gary Watts, the Richland County Coroner, reported that the bullet had pierced his heart.

The report addresses a growing concern of the marketing tactics used for non-powder guns. There are about 3.2 million non-powder guns sold a year, many sold in department stores and toy stores, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The marketing of these guns as toys has proven dangerous.

The increased popularity of war games, especially paint ball, has caused a growing number of injuries, especially to the eye. There have been approximately four deaths a year attributed to high-powered air rifles since their introduction in the 1970s. The Committee reports that a major problem the lack of medical recognition of the potentially fatal injuries that can result from these guns, including penetration of the eye, skin, internal organs, and bone.

Almost thirty states do in fact have some sort of legislation concerning non-powder guns, New York City and New York state being among the strongest. In New York City, air rifles and BB guns are prohibited, and licenses are not available. In New York State, along with Florida, no purchase or unsupervised use of a minor under the age of 16 is permitted.

However, there are still many states that do not have laws addressing non-gunpowder use at all. For example, pellet and BB gun purchases are largely unregulated in Minnesota. A writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported purchasing an air pistol at a local Wal-Mart for only $16.88.

The accessibility of these weapons is a major threat, especially to the careless youth who regard them as toys. According to the report, “the trends in non-powder gun fatalities and nonfatal injuries parallel the epidemic of firearm-related injuries and deaths of the past two decades.”

Copyright c2004 U-WIRE via U-Wire

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