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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 6, 2017 11:56 AM
From: Representative Tim Briggs
To: All House members
Subject: Child Access Prevention
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation (HB 415 of last session) which will require owners of firearms to store them securely if children are present. Failure to comply will result in criminal penalties. These penalties will not only be enforced if a crime with the firearm occurs, but the owners can be charged with a summary offense if a child is found in possession of a firearm. Legislation of this kind is often referred to as “Child Access Prevention.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2011, an average of 62 children age 14 and under were accidentally shot and killed each year. However, additional studies show that these numbers may be drastically underreported. The recent study, Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths, showed that at least 100 children were killed in unintended shootings over the course of a year. This averages out to approximately one every 3-4 days. Just this past week, tragedy struck again with the horrific accident in Delaware County that could have been easily avoided.

This is not only a problem of toddlers or young children accessing firearms, but part of the work to reduce teen suicides. In 2012, 64% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides. Research has shown that a gun in the home makes a suicide three times more likely. Most people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide, but only one in 10 people who attempt suicide by gun get that second chance. Limiting easy access to a gun for someone who considers or even attempts suicide can literally be the difference between life and death.

This law will not affect responsible, safe, law-abiding gun owners. I recognize that the majority of Pennsylvanians who own firearms take proper measures to ensure that their firearms are safely secured.

Please join me in protecting our children by supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1635