AACAP Releases Updated Statement on Firearm Safety

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry pic

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Image: aacap.org

Accomplished psychiatrist Ash Bhatt, MD, has overseen Sovereign Health Group as chief medical officer since August of 2015. In addition to board certifications in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine, Dr. Ash Bhatt maintains memberships with such professional organizations as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dedicated to the healthy development of youth, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology (AACP) regularly offers professional guidance on pertinent issues affecting American families. Recently, it issued an updated policy statement regarding children and firearms.

In the interest of improving the health and safety of youth across the country, the AACAP recommends that families strive to reduce the number of guns in their communities. The organization based its statement on research indicating a strong correlation between gun violence and youth access to firearms. The AACAP found that, among US children under the age of 15, the rate of gun-related homicides is exponentially higher than the combined rate of 25 other industrialized nations. With guns present in nearly one-third of all American homes, research suggests that these households are three times more likely to experience a homicide and five times more likely to experience a suicide.

The AACAP statement also cites research regarding adolescent brain development, noting that many youth are psychologically drawn toward risk, and may also choose to carry guns due to peer pressure. The academy recommends that families heavily restrict and closely monitor any access to guns and educate youth on the potential dangers of firearms. At the same time, the AACAP continues to support research, enforcement, and legislation in the realm of gun ownership and safety.

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