September 1994 Home   Newsletters

February 1995

April-May 1995

President's Message (Jim Koshi)
League Celebrates
Board Highlights
Local League News
Corporate Contributors Given Thanks
Convention '95
National Board Member is Coming
Legislative Issues (Evelyn Bender)
Action Alert
Leaguers in Action
Getting Online with Political Action
Legislative Access
United Nations
Population: A Problem Everywhere
Health Study Opportunities
Energy Savings
Recycling in Hawai'i
Earth Day

Legislative Issues

Firearms in Hawaii are responsible for 10 percent of all childhood injury deaths, for 25 percent of all childhood homicides, and for almost 46 percent of all child suicides, according to the Hawai'i Department of Health.

Guns are killing our children, they state. Murder is the fourth leading cause of death for ages 1-14 in this country and ranks second for ages 15-24. From 1989 to 1992, in our state, 31 children died due to firearms-that is equivalent to an entire classroom of kids. Eleven were murdered, 14 killed themselves, and 6 more died unintentionally due to firearms.

Each year in Hawai'i, another two children will likely be murdered with a firearm, three more will likely commit suicide with a gun, and one more will likely be killed unintentionally just due to firearms.

Guns have created a public health crisis, the state department of health notes. Firearm related deaths have surpassed motor vehicle related deaths in eight U.S. states-and this pattern is expected to repeat itself across the nation by the year 2000.

More than 30,000 people die every year in this country from firearms. But for every death from violence, it's estimated there are over 100 times as many nonfatal injuries.

In 1990, there were 22 handgun murders in Great Britain, 68 in Canada, 87 in Japan, but in the U.S.more than 10,000-and that's from only the handguns.

From 1989 to 1992, a total of 222 people were killed with firearms in Hawai' i-138 of those people committed suicide.

It's estimated that just direct health care costs due to violent injury are $5.7 billion a year. Locally, Queen's Medical Center estimates that average hospital charges alone for a firearm related injury cost almost $22,000 per incident.

The largest risk is not from career criminals slates the DOH's Ina Percival of the Injury Prevention and Control Program, who compiled these statistics.

Most of our risk from violence comes from the people we live with, work with, and go to school with -- NOT career criminals. This is especially true for women.

Of the 44 women killed with a firearm in Hawai'i from 1989 through the first six months of 1994, nearly every one of them was killed by a male family member or a male friend.

Having a gun in your home makes it five times more likely that someone in the household will commit suicide and three times more likely that someone in the household will be murdered long before the gun is used for protection against an intruder.

During the last 10 years, the Center for Disease Control reports that murder has become the leading cause of occupational death for women and the third leading cause of all worker deaths in the U.S.

Guns are used 75 percent of the time in these murders, while knives and other cutting instruments are used in just 14 percent of these incidents.

For more information contact Ina Percival at 594-1012.

Evelyn Bender

September 1994 Home   Newsletters April-May 1995