American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Legislation to Restrict Guns for Children Safety

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Just as there are reports emerging that the gun industry has been thriving under President Barack Obama’s administration, an association is advocating for stricter gun laws in the name of protecting children.

The American Academy of Pediatricians said Thursday that there is a need for tighter legislation to prevent firearm-related injuries and death in children and teens. AAP states in its renewed commitment to its stance that the safest home for children is one without guns, but admittedly there are measures owners can take to reduce risk.

“There’s new, better data that although the safest home for children is a home without guns, that parents can protect their child simply by keeping a gun unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately,” Robert Sege, co-author of AAP’s position paper and physician at Boston Medical Center, said to Reuters Health.

With firearms among the top three causes of childhood deaths in the United States, even though incidents have declined, the academy calls up research that links firearms within a household to an increased risk of suicide.

“Adolescents often experience very strong emotions and have difficulty seeing past a temporary setback,” pediatrician Denise Dowd said in AAP’s statement. “Their brains have not matured fully, which makes them impulsive, and relatively more likely to attempt suicide. When those attempts are made with a gun, there is little chance for them to change their minds. The odds of suicide are particularly high if the gun is kept loaded. It is absolutely critical that families who own guns follow safe-storage practices.”

Here’s what AAP is looking for in terms of potential legislation:

  • Consumer product regulations regarding child access, safety and design of guns
  • Child access prevention laws that enforce safe storage practices including the use of trigger locks, lock boxes, and gun safes
  • Regulation of the purchase of guns, including mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show loophole, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and background checks
  • Restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public

As for how guns have fared under the Obama administration, analysis by The Associated Press of data tracking the health of the gun industry shows that sales are on the rise, so much so that some gun manufacturers can’t make enough weapons fast enough. Major gun company stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly 20 years. The NRA is bursting with cash and political clout. And Congress and the administration have expressed little interest in passing new gun laws, despite renewed calls to do so after deadly shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.

AP states that many believe Obama is the primary driver of these positive gun sales.

“He’s the best thing that ever happened to the firearm industry,” Jim Barrett, an industry analyst at C.L. King & Associates Inc. in New York, said according to AP.

During the second presidential debate held Tuesday, Obama said he would renew his support for an assault rifle ban. GOP candidate Gov. Mitt Romney said at the debate he would not support new legislation that would restrict firearms.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image via Shutterstock.com.