Jaelynn’s Law, sponsored by State Senator Will Smith and Delegates Dana Stein and Sandy Bartlett, will strengthen safe storage requirements for gun owners for the purpose of reducing child access to firearms. Unsecured firearms increase the risk of unintentional shootings, homicide, and suicide.
In addition to requiring that guns are securely stored and unloaded if a minor could gain access, the bill increases the age of unsupervised firearm possession to 18 years of age. It also provides for a graduated system of penalties commensurate with the harm caused by a failure to securely store a weapon.
In short, this bill will strengthen gun owners’ accountability and responsibility for the safe storage of firearms.
Child access prevention laws help ensure responsible firearm storage by holding adults accountable when kids gain access to their guns. States that have these laws have seen reductions in youth suicides and unintentional injuries.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in Maryland.
Raising the minimum age for unsupervised access to a firearm helps protect young people until their brains are more fully developed.
Suicides and unintentional shootings make up almost 40% of Maryland’s gun related deaths.
From 2014-2018, 111 children under the age of 18 were killed with a gun in Maryland.
30.6% of gun deaths of children under 18 in Maryland are from suicide or other non-homicide events.
In the US, 4.6 million minors live in homes with at least one loaded and unsecured firearm. Child access prevention laws can help prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides.