CNN Tries To Freak Parents Out About Air Guns, But Here's What They Try To Ignore

Photo by Josh Hallett

No one is surprised that CNN is taking an anti-gun position, even if it’s about airguns. It’s kind of their thing. Take, for example, the story they ran on Monday about how airgun accidents with children have supposedly skyrocketed. Titled, “Air gun eye injuries rise 169% among kids, study finds,” the story is full of scaremongering designed to terrify parents and to keep them from allowing their kids access to airguns.


After starting with an anecdote about a kid who lost an eye to an airgun accident, they offer this:

Between 1990 and 2012, the rate of eye injuries tied to nonpowder guns — such as BB, pellet and paintball guns — in the United States skyrocketed 168.8%, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

In that 23-year period, the most common sports- and recreation-related eye injuries among children occurred while they were playing basketball, baseball and softball or while using nonpowder guns, the study found.

“These findings demonstrate that sports- and recreation-related eye injuries are common and can be severe,” said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and senior author of the study.

Wow, right?

However, it’s not nearly as terrifying as portrayed.

“However, the rate of eye injury associated with nonpowder guns — including BB, pellet and paintball guns — increased by almost 170%,” Smith said. “Nonpowder-gun-related eye injuries accounted for 11% of eye injuries and almost half of hospitalizations reported during the study period.”

In 1990, the rate of nonpowder-gun-related eye injuries was estimated to be around 1.61 per 100,000 children. In 2012, the rate was 4.34 per 100,000 children, Smith said.


In other words, while there’s been an increase, it’s still only a fairly small percentage of all accidents. Obviously, if it’s your child, it’s a huge issue, but it’s a non-issue for the vast majority of cases.

As Chris Heuss at The Truth About Guns notes, there’s a key point missing here.

Fun fact: The Journal study reports that 89 percent of these injuries occur with no adult present. So what we have here isn’t a gun problem. It’s a failure to parent.

Saying that, I used to play unsupervised with ari guns and explosives, and somehow managed to enter adulthood with my sight and fingers attached.

Parental involvement is important. While I didn’t often go around shooting my BB gun without an adult present, most folks I know did, and they still have all their original body parts.

Yet one thing that they all had in common, and I suspect Chris had as well, was parental training in how to use a firearm properly. Failing to do stupid things mitigates a whole lot of risk involved in shooting any kind of gun. Like he said, it’s a failure to parent, one exacerbated by a society fueled by an anti-gun media. Parents don’t teach their kids about guns like they should because the media is filled with the idea that doing so is somehow abuse.


It’s not. In fact, if these numbers are accurate, it looks like it might be more of a case to not teach your kids.

Just a thought.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member