Children’s Defense Fund Proposes New Gun Safety Laws: Is it Time?

Some chilling new statistics have just been released by the Children’s Defense Fund (Protect Children, Not Guns: Key Facts). A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes. The number of children under five who have died from guns was more than the number of law enforcement officers who died from guns in the line of duty in 2010. And between 1979 and 2010, 119,079 children and teens dies from guns…more than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Korean, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.

These facts coupled with the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy have prompted the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to release a new federal policy agenda aimed at protecting children from the continued rise in gun violence in America. Their goal: to “keep guns out of the hands of children and those who would use them against children”. To that end, there are four gun safety laws in CDF’s agenda:

  • Require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns. Subject guns to the same consumer product safety regulations that cover virtually every other consumer product. Currently the production and manufacture of guns is exempt from oversight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Every gun made in this country should be childproof and equipped with child safety locks and authorized user identification technology. Federal law also is silent on child access prevention. Congress should provide incentives for states to require gun owners to store their firearms and ammunition in a manner in which children and teens cannot access them.
  • Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Enact a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and fix the loopholes in the 1994 federal Assault Weapons Ban (which ended in 2004) that undercut its effectiveness.
  • Require background checks on anyone purchasing a gun. Close the gun show loophole. Federal law currently requires federally-licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on every sale. A loophole in the law allows private dealers to sell guns without a license and allows buyers to avoid background checks. More than 40 percent of all guns in this country are sold with no background checks.
  • Provide resources the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other federal agencies need to keep our children and communities safe. Establish a national federal gun registry to help officials track guns when they are produced and purchased. Get rid of legislative barriers that prevent data collection on firearm ownership by law enforcement officials. Eliminate restrictions on gun violence prevention research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.

“The heartrending massacre of 20 six- and seven-year old children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut must galvanize all of us to take action to protect children instead of guns,said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “Gun violence saturates our children’s lives. More children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newtown massacre. What’s it going to take…?”

But are these new gun safety laws the right answer? Some will say yes, others no. I will bring one more piece of data into the picture before leaving you to decide.

None of us will forget what happened on December 14th. It also happened to be my birthday…another reason it will not be easy to forget. But some of you may not know one other thing happened that day:

On December 14th, at Chenpeng Village Primary School in China’s Henan province a 36-year-old man by the name of Min Yongjun stabbed an elderly woman and then proceeded to break into the elementary school flailing a knife, attacking and stabbing elementary school children, severing ears and fingers.

By the end of his rampage, 23 children were wounded. There was no connection between these two tragedies – between these two men other than the date and the fact that they targeted the most innocent of victims. There was however one important distinction. Min Yonguin had only a knife…and no child died that day.

(note: story coverage provided by and the

So, I ask you once again – with what I am discovering is a less impartial heart than I thought it was. What do you think of these proposed gun safety laws? Do you think they are what we need?

Do you think they will keep our kids safe??




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For more information on the CDF Policy Agenda contact Patti Hassler, Vice President of Communications and Outreach, at (202) 662-3554 or

Follow the conversation on Twitter #ProtectChildrenNotGuns.

About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids. Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team


4 Responses to “Children’s Defense Fund Proposes New Gun Safety Laws: Is it Time?”

  1. I am in complete agreement. Our moral responsibility, as adults, as citizens, is first and foremost to keep our children safe. I have seen no argument that supports assault weapons and can not even see how they fit under the Constitutional ‘right to bear arms’ as they are clearly designed for mass murder, not defense, hunting or sport. I am 100% behind the proposed changes.

  2. Guns scare the absolute crap out of me and I don’t see why anyone but a cop or a hunter would need one.

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