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.
To reassess the effects of CAP laws and more fully examine the consistency of the estimated law effects across states.
A pooled time-series study of unintentional firearm mortality among children from 1979 through 1997.
The 50 states and the District of Columbia.
All children <15 years.
Rates of unintentional deaths attributable to firearms.
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.
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.