Aiming at kids with powerful guns

October 07, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the Boston Globe, which was published Tuesday.

IN THE frustrating search for common ground on the issue of gun control, one fact commands attention: There is a gun sitting in nearly half of U.S. households with children.

Although most everyone agrees that children should not have unsupervised access to guns, hundreds of children die each year in gun accidents alone.

A coalition has been created which is devoted to preventing such tragic events by promoting education and personal responsibility among gun owners.

Co-founded by Victoria Reggie Kennedy with Handgun Control, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and moderate gun groups such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the coalition calls for voluntary steps to protect children from guns.

Common Sense About Kids and Guns, as the initiative is called, is a laudable attempt to establish a floor of agreed-upon strategies in the gun wars. But it should not be seen as a substitute for real gun control.

Meaningful laws would require manufacturers to put safety locks on guns, would increase penalties for illegally selling guns to minors and would make adults criminally liable for crimes committed by children with their guns if they are not properly stored.

Bills with such provisions co-sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy were either rejected outright by Congress this year or are stalled in a House-Senate conference committee that has not met since the summer recess.

Nearly six months after the Columbine school killings, many families still keep loaded guns in bedroom night stands. Guns are on track to overtake auto accidents as the No. 1 cause of death among children.

Cars must be equipped with safety belts and air bags. When guns are treated with the same seriousness, efforts like Common Sense about Kids and Guns can make a real dent in the statistics.

Pub Date: 10/07/99

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