Make The Child Access Prevention Laws Federal

Make The Child Access Prevention Laws Federal

October 17, 2022
Signatures: 70Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Teresa Matuzak

Hi, there. My name is Teresa Matuzak and I would like to bring everyone's attention to the Child Access Prevention Laws.

Gun control and the access minors have to firearms is one of the most prevalent issues in our society today. Since 2000, there have been over seventy-five incidents where a minor had access to a firearm, brought it to a school campus, and shot a classmate or faculty member. In the majority of these cases minors got their hands on a gun their parents or relatives owned. 

The Child Access Prevention Laws, known as Safe Storage Laws, make it illegal for an adult to keep a gun in a place and manner in which a child can easily access and fire it. The problem is that this is not a federal law, but a state one that is differently enforced across the fifty states. According to the Giffords Law Center, in Illinois it is "unlawful for a person to store or leave their firearm unlocked and accessible to a minor under the age of 14 if...the minor is likely to gain access to the firearm and the minor causes death or great bodily harm with that firearm", but Illinois has no laws requiring an unattended firearm to be stored in a secure way [1]. Meanwhile, in California it is unlawful for "a person to negligently store or leave a firearm" in a location where "a child under 18 is likely to gain access to the firearm" and the firearm owner is criminally liable if a minor accesses the firearm and "carries it to a public place, brandishes it in a threatening manner" or "carries the firearm to any preschool or school grades K-12 or to any school-sponsored event, activity, or performance" [2]. This difference between the laws in Illinois in California allow firearm owners in Illinois to only be charged at least $1,000 for breaking the law [3], while those in California are responsible for at least $30,000 in damages "resulting from the discharge of a firearm by that person’s child or ward where the parent or guardian either permitted the minor to have the firearm, or left the firearm in a place accessible to the minor" [2] - Illinois has no laws written regarding what occurs when a child discharges the firearm and causes damage. 

According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 54% of gun owners in the US unsafely store their firearms, meaning that children do have access to guns and can bring them to a school [4]. However, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Child Access Prevention laws have led to a 19% decrease in homicides committed by juveniles using a firearm; imagine how much more that number could decrease if the Child Access Prevention laws were enforced across the United States [5]. We need to turn the Child Access Prevention Laws into a federal act so that the rules of the law, along with its punishments, are uniform across the Nation, which would encourage adults to properly house their firearms. If we lobby our state Senator and Representatives to argue for the Child Access Prevention laws to become federal, we can prevent shootings. This is the first step in keeping our ourselves from being killed like the thirteen year old boy in Oakland who was shot by his classmate on August 29th, 2022 [6]; we can prevent our siblings from being killed like the student at Tanglewood Middle School in South Carolina, who was shot by his twelve year old classmate on March 31st, 2022 [7]; we can keep our loved ones from being shot and killed - we can keep them alive if we fight for them, ourselves, our families, and for the Child Access Prevention laws.

If you would like the Child Access Prevention Laws to become a Federal Act, please sign. 









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Signatures: 70Next Goal: 100
Support now