Child Safe Vermont - Love Children, Lock Guns

Support Safe Firearm Storage to Prevent Unauthorized Child Access

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What is CAP Law

Why need CAP law

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Why Do We Need A CAP Law For Vermont?

Irresponsible firearm storage has deadly and foreseeable consequences for children.  We must have a law like the CAP law to prevent easy and unauthorized access to firearms by children.

Research shows that the presence of unsecured firearms in homes increases the risk of intentional and unintentional gun-related death in children (Grossman et al, 2005); and that the majority of guns used by children belong to their parents or relatives and are obtained from their own home (Grossmen et al, 1999).  Firearms, both long guns and handguns, are present in many Vermont homes with children, and both long and handguns have been used in youth suicide (Nelson and Lindenmayer, 1995; Nelson et al, 1997).

Parents often have misperceptions about children’s knowledge of firearms in the home.   One study shows that all of the children whose parents owned a gun were aware of that fact, even though 24% of the parents claimed the children didn’t know there was a gun in the house (Maxley and Miller, 2006).  Also, almost 20% of the children with guns in their houses reported that they had played with the guns without their parents’ permission or knowledge. 

There are an estimated 1.69 million children and youth in the United States under 18 years old living with loaded and unlocked household firearms (Okoro et al, 2005).  Parents with adelescents are more likely to keep their guns loaded and unlocked at home (Johnson et al, 2006). 

Aaron's tragedy is a distressingly grievous example of unsecured firearm storage and lack of state law leading to easy, unauthorized access of firearms by children and the deadly consequence. 

CAP Law for Vermont will be no different from existing laws for alcohol, tobacco, and seat belt use.  These laws are all for protecting children.   Yet, there is a striking difference in the liability and penalty between the law on child access to guns and laws on these other child safety issues in Vermont (see Comparison Table).

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Grossman DC, Ready DT, Baker SA. Arch  Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999; 153:875-878
Grossman DC, Mueller BA, Riedy C, et al. JAMA. 2005; 293:707-714
Johnson R, Miller M, et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2006
Nelson E and Lindenmayer J. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995; 149 (4, suppl): 78
Nelson E, Haley T, Morrow P.  Ambulatory Child Health, 1997; 3(1, part 2): 192
Maxley F, Miller M.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006
Okoro C, Nelson D, et al. Pediatrics, 2005