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Fatal Gun Accidents drop to 900 in 1998

Lowest number since 1903

Reflecting the value of safety efforts by industry, the National Rifle Association and many volunteer groups, a report by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows accidental firearms fatalities reached an all-time low of 900 in 1998 - the fewest fatal accidents since such record keeping began in 1903.

Fatal gun accidents have been declining for many years, but this was the first time the national total dropped below 1,000.

The 900 figure for 1998 represents a decline of 18%, from the previous year, a decline of 40% for the 10-year period 1989 to 1998, and a decline of 65 % since 1974 when 2,513 fatal firearms accidents occurred.

The Safety Council tracks unintentional injuries and deaths due to a variety of causes. The 900 accidental firearms-related fatalities reported by the NSC for 1998 compares with

* 41,200 deaths related to motor vehicle accidents,

* 16,600 in falls,

* 4,100 in drownings,

* 3,700 due to fire or burns,

* 3,200 due to choking, and

* 9,400 from poisoning, in the same year.

Firearms-related deaths in the home are at an historic low, as well. Of the total number of accidental fatalities attributed to firearms in 1998, 700 of these occurred in the home, a decline of 12.5% from the previous year.

Source: The New Gun Week, January 2000