Accidental Child Shooting Deaths at a Record Low – USA Carry

Mar 8, 2024 | 0 comments

It’s well-known among the gun owner community that Americans are buying guns in record numbers. The number of first-time gun buyers alone exceeded five million in 2023. With all the guns being purchased, and especially so many being purchased by people who have never owned a gun before, one might think that the number of tragic accidental shooting deaths would be hitting new highs, especially among children.

But that is not the case. Although it is a tragedy that could have been avoided when even one child is killed in an accidental shooting, the reality is that the number of accidental shooting deaths among children is at an all-time low. And as much as politicians and anti-2A groups would like to take credit for that because of laws and gun-free zones, the real credit goes to Project ChildSafe. No, Project ChildSafe is not some program run by the government or anti-gun groups. It is a project operated by the  National Shooting Sports Foundation  (NSSF). The NSSF is the trade association of the firearms industry made up of firearms manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers from all over the United States.

As usual, while anti-2A groups are carrying signs and politicians are grandstanding about new laws intended to restrict the Constitutional rights of Americans to keep and bear arms while doing nothing to reduce crime, it is the firearms community that is taking concrete steps to keep Americans safe. According to the NSSF, ‘Project ChildSafe is the nation’s most comprehensive firearm safety and education program—created by gun owners, for gun owners.’ Most important of all…it works.

The Problem

The death of even one child through an accidental shooting is not something any responsible gun owner condones. Having said that, it’s important to note that child deaths through accidental shootings are not a problem on the scale that other types of accidental deaths are. According to the CDC’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive WONDER database, 224,935 people died in accidents in the United States in the year 2021. Of those deaths, based on death certificate records, 549 were accidental shootings. This is the total accidental shooting deaths of people of all ages. That makes accidental shootings the 15th leading cause of accidental death, well behind causes that include poisoning, automobile accidents, falls, choking, drowning, and fires.

Accidental shooting deaths involving children under 18 make up a much smaller percentage of that figure. So, while we would all like to see zero child deaths through accidental shootings, the problem is not on the same scale as other types of accidents like poisoning, regardless of what the antis and the media say about it being an epidemic. However, the collective body of firearms manufacturers and retailers that make up the NSSF is determined to do everything possible to bring that number down.

How Project ChildSafe Works

Project ChildSafe is a simple program. It offers education and free firearm safety kits and gun locks to gun owners. The NSSF provides free locks to police departments and gun shops throughout the country, who then pass them on to anyone who comes in asking for one.

To participate, gun owners can go to the  Project ChildSafe  website operated by the NSSF, where they can access a wealth of gun and child safety resources. At the very top of the page is a link that takes them to a page where they enter their city and state to receive a list of Project ChildSafe participants in their area where they can receive safety resources and free gun locks. If there isn’t a local resource, all they must do is tell the NSSF, and they will reach out and create a local partner by contacting local police and gun shops.

Since its beginning in 1999, the program has provided over 100 million free firearm safety kits and gun locks to firearm owners in all 50 states. It currently has over 15,000 law enforcement partners and over 13,000 participating retail stores, conservation groups, hunting clubs, and shooting instructors.

The Results

The current rate of accidental shooting deaths involving children is the lowest it’s been since records started being kept in 1903. That’s right…1903. This claim is backed up by a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO analyzed 12 studies involving different methods of reducing accidental child shooting deaths. They found that safety programs like Project ChildSafe and the distribution of  gun locks had a significant impact on the problem and a much greater effect than counseling or having doctors talk to parents about gun storage.

Whether politicians or gun control groups want to acknowledge it or not, it is gun owners who are working the hardest to further gun safety. Project ChildSafe was named a finalist for the National Safety Council’s Green Cross for Safety Awards in the category of “Excellence in Safety” in 2018. In 2019, the RAND Corporation, while conducting research for the National Institute of Justice, identified Project ChildSafe as the only program that offers free gun locks on a national level and is a “noteworthy component of national efforts to improve safe storage.”

How to Get Involved

Aside from the obvious and critical act of donating to Project ChildSafe on the NSSF website, there are other things you can do. For one, you can be a good example of safe gun handling and storage and talk to other gun owners about it. You can also check to find out if your local police department and gun shops are participants in Project ChildSafe. If they are, thank them and use them as a resource. If they are not, inform them of the program, then contact the NSSF on the Project ChildSafe site and have them make contact to get your local police and gun shops signed up. All materials and gun locks are provided to neighborhood partners free of charge.


Project ChildSafe is a perfect example of how the people in the know can make the biggest difference. It’s no secret that many, if not most, anti-2A activists know very little or nothing at all about guns and gun safety. Alec Baldwin is a perfect example. All one must do is look at the laws banning so-called assault weapons to see that. Banning features like flash suppressors and pistol grips and creating gun-free zones do nothing to prevent crime or improve gun safety for children. Only concrete action by people who actually understand guns and how to safely handle them will make our homes and communities safer.

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