A gun gives criminals the power of life and death over ordinary, innocent citizens, and
because of that reason ther are countless robberies, rapes, and assaults carried out with handguns.
There are 200,000 robberies and 120,00 aggravated assaults are committed with handguns every
year.12 Over 200,00 handguns are stolen every year (A sizeable proportion are later used in
ctiminal activity).13 Firearms in the home carries out associated risks. Guns in the household
include risks such as homicide during domestic quarrels, injury or death from unintentional gun
shot wounds, and the availability of an immedate, highly lethal means of suicide. In many homes
with hand guns, the only real use of the guns, the only real use of the gun may be to make its
owner feel safer, but guns in the home are much more likely to kill residents in the home than
intruders. Eventhough the most common reason for owning a handgun is for household self-
defense, studies show that loaded household handguns are more likely to kill family members
than to save their lives.14 For evey intruder killed by a handgun, six homeowners or their childre
are killed by accident.15 About half of all American families own a firearm of some sort, and as
many as one in four have a handgun owner among them.16 There are approximately
120 million guns in private homes in the United States.17 One fifth of gun owners identify
"Self defense at home" as their most important reason for having a gun.18 About half of all the
homes in America contain one or more firearms.19 A 5-year study of deaths
involving firearms kept in the home found that, for evey case of self - protection
homicides, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides.20
Guns are used in most youth suicides. Firearms are now used in most suicides on 10-14
and 15-24 year olds.21 About 10,000 suicides are committed with a handgun annually. (over four
out of five firearm suicides are committed with a handgun.)22 The increase fueled almost
entirely by firearm suicides, which rose from 48% to 63% to total youth suicides.23 Between
1970 and 1980, the suicide rate among 15-19 year olds increased by 44%.24Between 1980 and
1986, the number of suicides by 10-14 year olds more than
doubled from 139 to 250.25 In 1986, 1,896 youths took their lives, 1,151 with guns,
representig a further 20% increase in the suicide rate.26 The suicide rate among teenage boys is
more than three times higher that the rate among girls. in part because boys choose more lethal
3
means to attempt suicide.27 In 1986, more than six times as many boys as girls killed themselves
with firearms.28
The easy availability of firearms to youths has become a serious problem to today's
schools and the communities which we live in. School violence has become a dismal fact of life,
but many educators continue to respond with not-in my, school denial. According to the
National crime survey, almost 3 million crimes occur on or near school yard campuses every year
16,000 per school day, or one every 6 seconds.29 A federally founded 20-state survey of 11,000
adolescents found that 41% of boys and 21% of girls said they could obtain a hand gun if they
wanted to.30 Florida reported a 42% increase in gun incidents in schools between the 1986-1987
and 1987-1988 schoold years (86% of the guns were traced came from student's homes.)31
Califorinia Schools reported a 43% increase in student gun confiscations in middle schools and
50% increase in high schools over three years.32 In California in the 1988-1989 School year
session, assaults were up 16 percent to 69, 191.33 Almost one-third of the students in 31 high
schools in Illinois said they had brought a weapon to school for self-protection at some time
during their highschool career.34 Three percent of boys said they had carried a handgun to
school once in 1987, and one percent - potentially 135,00 nationwide, said they carried one to
school daily.35 The 1991-1992 School year session in New York had 56 shootings and was the
bloodiest ever: 11/19/91, Brooklyn Alternative High School : Teacher Shot in the left arm on
street.36 On 11/21/91, McKee High School, Curtis High School, Staten Island : A student shot
three students, killing one 18-year-old.37 11/1/91, Westinghouse High School, Brookyn :
Student, 19 , shot in back by gang of armed intruders in school highway.38 11/21/92; Brooklyn,
Police officier shot in street by student.39 10/8/91, James Monroe