Child Access Prevention Laws: A Common Sense Approach to Gun Control

33 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010 Last revised: 15 Oct 2012

Andrew Jay McClurg

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

Fifteen states have Child Access Prevention or “CAP” laws that make it a crime for a gun owner to store a loaded firearm in a manner in which he knows or reasonably should know a child may gain access to the weapon.

This article asserts that CAP laws are a reasonable and feasible way to reduce a variety of gun-related harms. CAP laws do not constitute “gun confiscation” or, as a newspaper editorial asserted, “a cynical attempt to cancel a constitutionally guaranteed right.”

Basically, a CAP law says to gun owners: You own a dangerous instrumentality that can be used to instantly end a human life. You must store it in a reasonably safe way. If you fail to do so and a child or other unauthorized user gains possession of it and uses it to inflict harm, you will be held responsible.

Although CAP laws are touted primarily as a means of reducing accidental shootings by children, they also can be expected to prevent some intentional third-party shootings and suicides. When guns are securely stored, they cannot be misused by unauthorized users.

Suggested Citation

McClurg, Andrew Jay, Child Access Prevention Laws: A Common Sense Approach to Gun Control (1999). St. Louis University Public Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 47, 1999; University of Memphis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 80. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1711310

Andrew Jay McClurg (Contact Author)

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law ( email )

1 Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
United States

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