Do you have a gun?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 17 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:373
  1. Justin Daniels, consultant in paediatrics (justin.daniels{at}
  1. Great Ormond Street Hospital at the North Middlesex, London

    Parts of north London are sometimes dangerous and violent, but I was shocked when my US medical student asked a family if there was a gun in the household as part of his routine paediatric social history. He told me that in the United States this was a standard history taking question as children were much more likely to be shot if they lived in a house where a gun was located. If the family did have a gun he would go on to ask whether it was kept in an appropriate locked cupboard.

    We do not think of the United Kingdom as having a gun culture, but in 2004-5 there were 22 798 firearms related offences in which 5358 people were injured and 78 killed. Perhaps we should make this question a standard part of UK paediatric history taking.

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