Child Access Prevention Laws – Should Every State Have Them?

Child Access Prevention laws, child with gun, Timothy Dimoff

A 13-year-old boy kills another 13-year-old boy with his father’s gun.

A 15-year-old kills four of his classmates and wounds seven others.

A 9-year-old puts a loaded gun into his backpack and takes it to school, where it accidentally fires and lodges a bullet into the spine of an 8-year-old.

These are just three examples of children having access to loaded firearms. This blog will focus on the overwhelming statistics regarding child deaths, how parents and guardians can act, and other resources to keep your children safe.

 

The Statistics are Overwhelming

 

  • Of the 145 school shootings since 1999, 73% of the weapons used were taken from the shooter’s own home or the home of a relative or a friend.
  • There have been more school shootings in 2021 than in any other year since 1999.
  • It’s estimated that 20% of gun owners have at least one firearm in their home that is loaded and unlocked.
  • According to the CDC, firearms are the leading cause of death for children ages one to 19. 66% of those deaths are by suicide.
  • In 2019, there were 309 unintentional shootings by children, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.

What are Child Access Prevention (CAP) Laws?

 

CAP laws take a variety of forms. The strongest laws impose criminal liability when a minor is likely to gain access to a negligently stored firearm regardless of whether the minor gains access (California). The weakest merely prohibit certain persons, such as parents or guardians, from directly providing a firearm to a minor (Georgia).

The laws allow for criminal charges to be brought against adults who intentionally, recklessly, or negligently allow children to have unsupervised access to firearms.

Currently, Ohio does not have any Child Access Prevention laws.

 

Possible Solutions

 

According to the RAND Gun Policy in America, there is supportive evidence that Child Access Prevention Laws reduce all firearm self-injuries among young people.

As a gun owner with children in your home, utilize all the resources (including free gun locks) from Project ChildSafe. They have resources for new gun owners, as well as a quiz on assessing your firearm safety.

Enroll in the Home Firearm Safety Courses offered by the NRA.

Keep your guns always unloaded and locked away when they are not on your person. Be sure to keep your bullets in an entirely different locked area.

Lobby your Ohio Congressperson and Ohio Senator to introduce a CAP law. Like the case in Michigan, it will be challenging to hold parents and other guardians accountable for shootings without one.

 

Additional Resources

 

Suicide is a Gun Issue, Really

Bulletproof Backpacks are NOT the Answer

 

Contact Timothy Dimoff for More Information

Contact Tim to schedule a talk about this subject. Also, be sure to listen to his December 8, 2021 media interview about the Michigan shooting and why Child Access Prevention Laws need to be a focus for most state legislative bodies.

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