U.S. House Vote to Stop
Enforcement of Federal Child Safety Lock Law Panders to Gun Lobby, Ignores
Grave Risk to Children
vote yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives to prohibit the enforcement
of a new federal law that requires gun manufacturers and dealers to provide
child safety locks or safe storage devices with all handguns makes it
clear that Congress values the loyalty of the gun lobby more than the
welfare of children,� Kristen Rand, Violence Policy Center legislative
director, stated today. The amendment was attached to the fiscal year
2007 spending bill (H.R. 5672) for the Departments of Commerce, Justice
and State--which includes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF). The bill has yet to be considered in the Senate.
Ninety children and
teens aged 16 and under died from unintentional gunshot wounds in 2003,
the most recent data available from the National Center for Injury Prevention
and Control reveals. More than 2,000 were injured in that age group by
unintentional gunfire in 2004 (2004 data is not available for gun deaths).
The child safety lock requirement was passed in 2005 in an effort to reduce
the risk of gunshot wounds among children. This federal law is one of
very few safety regulations that applies to the gun industry, an industry
otherwise exempt from federal health and safety regulation.
The amendment was
sponsored by Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO). Adds Rand, �Representative
Musgrave�s claim that �trigger locks do not stop accidental shootings�
amounts to no more than uninformed opinion that is contradicted by research
showing that safe storage laws reduce unintentional shootings by 23 percent.�
Furthermore, a study published in 2005 in the journal Pediatrics
found that 1.69 million children and youth in the United States under
age 18 are living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109