NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Risks Found In Locking Up Guns

May 12, 2000

Laws that punish parents for failing to lock guns away from children cause more violence than they prevent, according to a study by Yale Law School's John Lott Jr. and John Whitley of the University of Chicago.

  • So-called "child-access prevention laws" are on the books in 17 states.
  • Looking at data for 1996, the researchers estimate that in 15 states then having such laws, there were about 3,800 more rapes, at least 21,000 more burglaries and at least 49,700 more robberies because guns were not readily available as a deterrent.
  • At the same time, they report, the laws failed to reduce accidental firearms deaths and suicides involving children.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 138 children under age 15 died accidentally from gunfire in 1996.

The only consistent impact of safe-storage laws is to raise rape, robbery and burglary rates, and the effects are very large," the researchers say.

Source: Martin Kasindorf, "Study: Gun-Lockup Laws Can Be Harmful," USA Today, May 11, 2000.


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