(Liz Klimas) Just as there are reports emerging that the gun industry has been thriving under President Barack Obama’s administration, an association is advocating for stricter gun laws in the name of protecting children.
The American Academy of Pediatricians said Thursday that there is a need for tighter legislation to prevent firearm-related injuries and death in children and teens. AAP states in its renewed commitment to its stance that the safest home for children is one without guns, but admittedly there are measures owners can take to reduce risk.
“There’s new, better data that although the safest home for children is a home without guns, that parents can protect their child simply by keeping a gun unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately,” Robert Sege, co-author of AAP’s position paper and physician at Boston Medical Center, said to Reuters Health.
With firearms among the top three causes of childhood deaths in the United States, even though incidents have declined, the academy calls up research that links firearms within a household to an increased risk of suicide.
“Adolescents often experience very strong emotions and have difficulty seeing past a temporary setback,” pediatrician Denise Dowd said in AAP’s statement. “Their brains have not matured fully, which makes them impulsive, and relatively more likely to attempt suicide. When those attempts are made with a gun, there is little chance for them to change their minds. The odds of suicide are particularly high if the gun is kept loaded. It is absolutely critical that families who own guns follow safe-storage practices.”
Here’s what AAP is looking for in terms of potential legislation:
- Consumer product regulations regarding child access, safety and design of guns
- Child access prevention laws that enforce safe storage practices including the use of trigger locks, lock boxes, and gun safes
- Regulation of the purchase of guns, including mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show loophole, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and background checks
- Restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public