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.