Reexamining the association between child access prevention gun laws and unintentional shooting deaths of children

Pediatrics. 2000 Dec;106(6):1466-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.106.6.1466.


Context: A previous study estimated that child access prevention (CAP) laws, which hold adults criminally liable for unsafe firearm storage in the environment of children, were associated with a 23% decline in unintentional firearm mortality rates among children.

Objective: To reassess the effects of CAP laws and more fully examine the consistency of the estimated law effects across states.

Design: A pooled time-series study of unintentional firearm mortality among children from 1979 through 1997. Setting. The 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Participants: All children <15 years.

Main outcome measures: Rates of unintentional deaths attributable to firearms.

Results: When the effects of all 15 state CAP laws enacted before 1998 were aggregated, the laws were associated with a 17% decline unintentional firearm death rates among children. The laws' effects were not equal across states. Florida's CAP law was associated with a 51% decline; however, there were no statistically significant aggregate or state-specific law effects in the other 14 states with CAP laws.

Conclusions: Florida's CAP law-1 of only 3 such laws allowing felony prosecution of violators-appears to have significantly reduced unintentional firearm deaths to children. However, there is no evidence of effects in the other 14 states with CAP laws.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Firearms / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Homicide / prevention & control*
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • United States
  • Wounds, Penetrating / prevention & control*