In an op-ed, the National Rifle Association argues against child access prevention laws that keep firearms out of the hands of children.
What are Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws?
Generally, Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws impose criminal and/or civil liability on parents, guardians or other adults when children access their firearms. These measures are sometimes referred to as mandatory storage laws where immunity is only granted when the gun was stored in a safe or equipped with a locking device, rendering the firearm temporarily unavailable for personal protection. Most such proposals lack adequate exemptions for lawful recreational activities or self-defense.
Why does the NRA oppose them?
The NRA opposes these laws because they are unnecessary, ineffective, and endanger law-abiding gun owners.
New Mexico already has laws on the books to hold adults accountable for endangering a child. (NMSA Section 30-6-1, New Mexico’s Child Abuse/Abandonment statute). Under the law, it is a felony for a responsible person to knowingly, intentionally, or negligently, and without justifiable cause, cause or permit a child to be placed in a situation that may endanger the child’s life or health. Prosecutors have the tools, in appropriate cases, to hold parents, guardians or other custodians of children accountable when a child gains unauthorized access to a firearm and commits a crime or injures himself or someone else.
According to a study by John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, and John Whitley, "Safe Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime," - there is no evidence that CAP laws reduce either juvenile accidental firearm deaths or suicides. Instead, these laws appear to make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves. Out of the ten states that had CAP laws for at least four years, relative violent crime stopped falling when these statutes were adopted and then ended up even higher at the end the four-year period. The only consistent impact was that these laws were significantly related to higher rates of rape, robbery, and burglary.