Child access prevention (CAP) laws “impose criminal liability on adults who give children unsupervised access to firearms.” These laws are meant to protect children from unsafe home environments by providing incentive and reminders for parents to engage in safe firearm storage practices. Researchers have found shocking data that reveals that millions of children live in homes with easily accessible guns:
- Approximately one in every three handguns is kept loaded and unlocked.
- A 2006 study showed that 73% of children under the age 10 who were living in homes with guns knew their exact location.
- Worse, 36% of these children claimed to have actually handled the guns.
- The study also showed that 39% of parents who reported that their children didn’t know the location of their gun safes or weapons and 22% who reported that their kids never held any of their firearms were completely contradicted by their children’s testimony to researchers.
These numbers support the creation of CAP laws, and show how disturbingly accessible home firearms can be.
Research has also linked the accessibility of firearms in one’s home to both juvenile suicide and the possibility of violent outbursts. In July 2004, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education published a study examining 37 school shootings from 1974-2000, which determined that in more than 65% of the cases, the attacker got the gun from his or her own home or that of a relative. Thankfully, research has also showed how effective CAP laws can be. One study found that in 12 states where CAP laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23% among children under 15 years of age from 1990-1994.
A recent article proposes that having CAP laws placed on a federal level could cause a significant drop in the rate of child fatalities across the country. By requiring that parents store their firearms properly in gun safes or by possibly having background checks and waiting periods before purchases can be fulfilled, the incidences of careless people obtaining weapons would decrease. This would, in turn, impact the number of accidental deaths in minors and save many lives, something that most parents can certainly applaud.
While 28 states and D.C. have adopted CAP laws, there are currently still no child access prevention laws at the federal level. In fact, federal law doesn’t specifically require gun owners to safely store their firearms. Federal law does, however, make it “unlawful for any licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer to sell or transfer any handgun unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device.” The law also “immunizes the lawful owner of a handgun who uses a secure gun storage or safety device from certain civil actions based on the criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun by a third party.”
No matter what your position, everyone can agree that keeping your children safe should be a priority. So why wait for federal CAP laws to be enacted? With Sportsman Steel Safes, you can ensure that your children never have to become a statistic.