Understanding the Child Access Prevention Laws

An explanation of Child Access Prevention Laws should be made at least to make the skeptics and cynics understand why it’s necessary to invest in a gun safe. CAP laws were put up as a countermeasure for the rising number of incidents and injuries involving guns. In most cases, the occurrence of these events was aided by negligent storage of guns and firearms by their owners. These laws were also placed as a response to the growing dissent in media over news stories of shootings and other unfortunate mishaps involving guns, and the easy accessibility people, with special attention to minors, have to firearms.

Read the Bill Here http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/65

Fourteen states—only fourteen, to my and a lot of others’ disappointment—have laws that make it a criminal liability for a person to store their firearms sloppily. Their negligence often takes place when they leave their guns where they can be accessed easily. I’ve heard of people talking about sleeping with a gun in their bedside drawer, or somewhere equally handy. Had anyone, especially a minor, taken that gun and used it somehow, the person who placed the weapon in that drawer is held responsible.

Because the law varies so much different states, CAP laws are regarded differently as well. I see this as most evident in the interpretation of a minor in the states. Most states define a minor as someone under 18, while some states, though a few out of many, require being under 14 to be a minor.

Essentially, what the CAP laws create is a barrier from possible scenarios happening. Households throughout the United States will have a family with a member who owns a gun, and a child or a minor who lives under the same roof. When that gun is misplaced or put somewhere it can be easily reached, the danger is always the minor grabbing the gun. In certain states, CAP laws dictate that just the action of a minor handling a negligently stored gun is grounds for criminal liability to the gun owner. In other states, it takes the firing or misuse of that gun for action to be taken against the gun owner. Both scenarios are just as daunting and frightful. A gun in any untrained hand could lead to death or injury.

As with any other laws, an exception exists. If a minor obtains a firearm illegally by meddling with a locked compartment (e.g. a gun safe), the gun owner will not be held accountable. The other exceptions are when the minor is trained through a firearm safety course, and for reasons of defense.

The effects of CAP Laws have been evident in the statistics garnered from the past since these laws began to be imposed: incidents of intentional and unintentional deaths involving both firearms and minors have decreased at least 20%. This includes circumstances of misuse of guns (especially in the hands of children who have no idea how to handle them) and suicide in teens. Most of the protective measures that led to this negative correlation are linked to the usage of gun safes by gun owners.

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