Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) today introduced the Safe Gun Storage Act, legislation which would direct the Consumer Protection Safety Commission to establish safety standards for firearm safes and firearm locks.
Unsafely stored firearms are a major public safety and public health issue in our country. According to a 2018 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health survey, 54% of gun owners report not storing their firearms safely, and 34% of these homes had children 18 years or younger in the home. 18% of all gun injuries in our nation occur because of improperly stored firearms in homes.
Additionally, household gun ownership increases the rate of gun related suicides, and this is particularly true in households with young children. In 2016, the CDC noted that 60% of all firearm deaths were from suicides, with more than 1,100 suicides by people between 10 and 19 years of age. The following year, 43% of all youth suicide involved a firearm. A 2018 study conducted by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that a 10% increase of households with firearms has led to a 25% increase in the rate of youth suicide by a firearm. Study after study shows a clear correlation between an increased rate of households with guns and an increased rate in youth suicide by a firearm.
“Establishing reasonable, common sense standards for storing guns and gun locks in the home is just one simple part of the responsibility we have to keep children and families safe,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “It is our moral imperative to do all we can to prevent the all-too-frequent occurrence of gun violence, and I’m proud to partner with Rep. Engel in introducing this important piece of legislation.”
“Our nation has been plagued with gun violence. But what too often gets lost in the debate is the suicide rate by firearm,” said Rep. Eliot Engel. “Youth suicide rates are already staggeringly high and have been trending upward. We must decrease them, and we can, by ensuring firearm safes and firearm locks are used in homes. Those safes and locks also must have strong safety standards to prevent unauthorized people, especially children, from gaining access to firearms. This bill will save lives and I’m proud to introduce it with my colleague Rep. Jayapal. I thank her for joining me in this effort to keep our families and communities safe.”
Brady Vice President for Programs Kyleanne Hunter said, “Safe storage is a critical part of responsible gun ownership, and Americans deserve to know that the products designed to safely secure their firearms are up to the task. As a veteran and a gun owner, I find the lack of federal standards appalling. We applaud Representatives Engel and Jayapal for introducing this important piece of legislation to determine standards for safely storing guns and keeping them out of the wrong hands.
“The majority of guns used in school violence and youth suicides are taken from the home, a friend, or a relative. We know that safe storage of firearms can help save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “That’s why we support this legislation that will help ensure that firearm safes and firearm locks meet the highest safety standards. When you purchase one of these products you should be assured that they will work and will never unintentionally put a child or loved one at risk.”
John Feinblatt, Everytown for Gun Safety’s President stated, “It’s not hard to understand the need for better gun locks and safes: Bad things often happen when firearms end up in the hands of children, thieves, or domestic abusers. We applaud Rep. Engel and Rep. Jayapal for taking action to ensure uniform safety guidelines for gun safes and locks, which are essential tools in the effort to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”