Child Access Prevention Laws and Firearm-Related Homicides
In attempts to curb gun violence by young people, who often use unsecured firearms from their homes, 27 states and the District of Columbia have adopted safe-storage laws designed to restrict juvenile access to guns. These "child access prevention" (CAP) laws vary from state to state in severity of penalties and assignment of liability.
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In Child Access Prevention Laws and Juvenile Firearm-related Homicides (NBER Working Paper No. 25209),
D. Mark Anderson,
Joseph J. Sabia, and
Erdal Tekin analyze FBI crime data from the Supplementary Homicide Reports for the period 1985-2013. They find that, after allowance for differences across states in homicide trends before the laws were enacted, CAP laws are associated with a 19 percent reduction in firearm-related homicides among 12- to 17-year-olds. Without controls for state-specific trends, the drop in juvenile homicides is even larger. The effects are largest in states with a "negligent storage" standard, which is the strictest form of CAP legislation. In negligent-storage states, an individual who allows a minor access to an improperly stored gun can face criminal prosecution. The researchers find larger effects of CAP laws on white than on black youth.
— Jay Fitzgerald
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