Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Toddlers

Handgun_by_Adam_Hill

Target: Florida Governor Rick Scott

Goal: Require stricter laws for storing personal firearms to prevent accidental shooting deaths in the home.

Toddlers who have access to unlocked guns are becoming increasingly dangerous to themselves and the people around them. According to a recent Washington Post article, Americans are shot by toddlers at least once per week. These children have varying ranges of knowledge about gun safety, but they all have access to unlocked, loaded guns. Toddlers who find these guns have killed and injured themselves or other people–typically family members.

Following the shooting of pro-gun activist Jamie Gilt at the hands of her 4-year-old son, questions have been raised about the storage of personal firearms around the home. Groups such as the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have outlined strong safety plans and methods to teach children about the consequences of using guns. Affordable trigger locks and vaults are available from large retailers, including Amazon, and are effective ways to keep guns away from unauthorized users. It’s also recommended to store ammunition separately in case safety plans fail.

Twenty-eight states have laws to enforce gun safety, including Florida. However, the laws are vague, settle for ineffective gun storage solutions, and do not hold gun owners liable until a minor has handled a gun without permission. These laws do nothing to prevent innocent people from the danger of unlocked, loaded guns in the hands of young children.

Encourage Florida Governor Rick Scott to strengthen gun storage laws and keep firearms out of the hands of toddlers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Scott,

The laws regarding proper gun safety storage must be strengthened.

Last year alone, over 43 toddlers accessed an unlocked, loaded gun and opened fire, killing or injuring themselves or family members. This is inexcusable during a time in our nation’s history when gun safety is a key issue. Simply placing a gun out of reach for a toddler is not enough. Each firearm when not in use must be unloaded and locked securely in a safe place within the home. We must do better to ensure children do not accidentally find guns and fire them.

Florida law currently states that each firearm when not in use must be locked in a safe container, stored in a relatively secure location, or be outfitted with a trigger lock. However, these laws are vague and do not address unloading each gun or storing ammunition separately. Furthermore, gun owners are only held liable if a minor handles the firearm without permission, displays it in public, or in a threatening manner. The laws enacted do little to prevent minors from reaching guns and using them, even accidentally.

By strengthening these laws to include proper gun storage, keeping ammunition separate, and holding gun owners accountable for their storage plans, we could diminish gun-related accidents at the hands of toddlers in Florida. Please rewrite these laws to protect Floridians from tragic gun accidents and encourage other states to do the same.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Adam Hill

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