Children’s Defense Fund Proposes New Gun Safety Laws

January 3, 2013

New Key Facts Released on Children and Guns

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) released a federal policy agenda to protect children from the epidemic of gun violence in America. In a new fact sheet CDF found a child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes. Between 1979 and 2010, 119,079 children and teens died from guns. This is more deaths in 32 years than U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Korean, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined. The common sense gun safety laws in CDF’s agenda would help keep guns out of the hands of children and those who would use them against children. The four policy proposals are:

  • Require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns. Subject guns to the same consumer product safety regulations that cover virtually every other consumer product. Currently the production and manufacture of guns is exempt from oversight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Every gun made in this country should be childproof and equipped with child safety locks and authorized user identification technology. Federal law also is silent on child access prevention. Congress should provide incentives for states to require gun owners to store their firearms and ammunition in a manner in which children and teens cannot access them.
  • Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Enact a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and fix the loopholes in the 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban (which ended in 2004) that undercut its effectiveness.
  • Require background checks on anyone purchasing a gun. Close the gun show loophole. Federal law currently requires federally-licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on every sale. A loophole in the law allows private dealers to sell guns without a license and allows buyers to avoid background checks. More than 40 percent of all guns in this country are sold with no background checks.
  • Provide resources the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other federal agencies need to keep our children and communities safe. Establish a national federal gun registry to help officials track guns when they are produced and purchased. Get rid of legislative barriers that prevent data collection on firearm ownership by law enforcement officials. Eliminate restrictions on gun violence prevention research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.

The CDF federal policy agenda to ensure every child a safe start includes strengthening mental health resources and a commitment to counter the culture of violence by expanding access to programs that work to reduce community and gun violence. Read the full CDF federal policy agenda to ensure every child a safe start and CDF’s new Protect Children, Not Guns: Key Facts.

“The heartrending massacre of 20 six- and seven-year old children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut must galvanize all of us to take action to protect children instead of guns,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “Gun violence saturates our children’s lives. More children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newtown massacre. What is it going to take for the American people to push the President and members of Congress and Governors and state legislators to stand up to the NRA and place protection of children and youths and citizens ahead of the protection of guns? How much is a child’s life worth in America today? A classroom of children?”

# # #

For more information contact Patti Hassler, Vice President of Communications and Outreach, at (202) 662-3554 or

Follow the conversation on Twitter #ProtectChildrenNotGuns.

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.