Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, is sponsoring H.B. 31 that, if passed, will require all firearms to be either safely secured or locked when they are kept in residences and there are minors about who can gain access to the firearms. Gun advocates view the bill as an infringement of their rights.
I understand the concerns of gun advocates, but let’s take a look at the bill’s purpose: keeping kids safe. Too many get shot because guns are left within a kids’ reach.
To get a sense for how frequently kids are hurt or killed because guns are left out in the open, read the New York Times article published on Sept. 28, 2013, (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/children-and-guns-the-hidden-toll.html) which reviewed accidental gun death in five states. Roughly half of the accidental children shootings that were reviewed took place in the child’s home, and a third occurred at a friend or relative’s home.
The Children’s Defense Fund reported that in 2008 and 2009, 5740 children and teens, including 299 children under age 10, were killed by guns, and 8162 children and teens, including 847 children under 10, were injured by guns. In 2008 and 2009, gun homicide was the leading cause of death for black teens, ages 15 to 19; for white teens, ages 15 to 19, it was vehicular accidents followed by gun homicide in 2008 and gun suicide in 2009. Sure, a number of these deaths may have been caused by gang bangers, but many of them were the result of adults who failed to take adequate precautions.
I suspect most gun owners are conscientious about gun safety, but too many are not. H.B. 31 seeks to protect children and teens from gun owners who are negligent in the handling of their firearms.
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