Product-oriented approaches to reducing youth gun violence

Stephen P. Teret, Patti L. Culross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Injury prevention experts have suggested that gun manufacturers could reduce youth violence by changing the design of guns. Product safety features could make guns more difficult for children to fire unintentionally and more difficult to use if stolen or obtained illegally. This article gives a brief history of efforts to make safer, smarter guns and assesses the potential of the product safety approach for reducing youth gun violence. Among the article's key findings: Right Half Black Circle Sign Research from the injury prevention field suggests that changing product design may be more effective in preventing injuries than trying to change personal behaviors; Right Half Black Circle Sign Existing product safety technologies for guns could reduce unintentional gun injuries, especially to young children. In addition, emerging technologies will enable gun manufacturers to "personalize" guns, which could prevent unauthorized users of any age from firing the weapons. Personalization could decrease access to guns by adolescents; Right Half Black Circle Sign Gun manufacturers have been slow to incorporate safety features into their products; but legislative, regulatory, and litigation efforts are under way to mandate safer guns. The authors envision a future when the law requires product safety features - including personalization - on all new firearms. These product safety features have the potential to reduce both intentional and unintentional firearm injury and death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalFuture of Children
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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