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More Child Gun Injuries in States With Self-Defense Laws
Date:1/31/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- States with so-called "Stand Your Ground" gun laws see about 30 percent more child firearm injuries compared to states without such laws, according to recent research.

Stand Your Ground laws, first adopted by Florida in 2005, allow people who feel threatened in a public place to use lethal force to defend themselves. Florida's law further specifies that such people do not have a duty to retreat.

The laws gained national attention with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in 2012.

Although Martin was unarmed, George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot him, said that Martin had attacked him. Zimmerman was not initially charged but now is awaiting trial for second-degree murder.

States with self-defense laws with language on people's right to "stand their ground" are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others states have different forms of self-defense law.

The new study findings, recently presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma in Scottsdale, Ariz., echo that of another recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that states with a Stand Your Ground law saw more homicides than those without.

The authors of the current study based their findings on information from a database that tracks hospitalizations due to firearm injuries in kids from birth through age 20.

For the years 2006 to 2009, there were almost 20,000 hospitalizations from firearm injuries in this age group, 65 percent from assault, 27 percent due to accidents and 3 percent from injuries sustained while attempting suicide.

The demographic patterns of the shootings were particularly striking.

Males were 36 times
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