Senate Dems' Crazy Idea: Maybe Gun Manufacturers Shouldn't Be Marketing To Kids?

Senate Dems' Crazy Idea: Maybe Gun Manufacturers Shouldn't Be Marketing To Kids?

In 2022, according to Everytown Research, there were 323 accidental shootings by children, 144 of which ended in a death.

There were a total of 51 school shootings that ended in either injury or death of at least one student, more than any other year on record.

More than 6,000 children were hurt or injured by firearms. That, too, is a record number.

From 2019 to 2020, firearm suicide by people ages 10 to 24 increased by 15 percent, compared to an all-over increase of two percent. From 2010, there has been an increase of 59 percent.

One study showed that gun deaths among juveniles rose 30 percent from 2019 to 2020 (including accidental shootings and suicides), making gun violence the leading cause of death of children under the age of 18.

Some people might see statistics like these and think, "Boy, maybe kids shouldn't have guns! Or access to guns!" But we live in America, where that is not likely to ever happen. We live in America, where parents get arrested for letting their kids walk down the street to Dunkin' Donuts, and adults without children can be fined $2500 for "smuggling" Kinder Surprise Eggs in from Canada because a child could hypothetically eat the egg and choke on the toy inside, but weapons manufacturers can sell kiddie-size real assault rifles like it's nothing.

But Senate Democrats would like to do something about that last bit. On Wednesday, Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced legislation that would direct the Federal Trade Commission to restrict the marketing of guns to children. This comes on the heels of an effort by Democrats to get the FTC to investigate WEE 1 Tactical, the company that sells the JR-15 — get it?! — .22 Long Rifle, a freaking assault weapon for kids.

Image: Black assault rifle. Text: The JR-15 is a .22 Long Rifle that functions like a modern sporting rifle, however and most importantly its small size, lightweight rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared towards smaller enthusiasts.  Our goal was to build a truly unique shooting platform that a Parent or Coach can safely use to teach a younger enthusiast. The JR-15 is smaller, weighs less and has a patented safety.

Given that it is not even clear what adults need with AR-15s and the like — since they are ill-suited for hunting or even home safety or really any activity outside of gunning down a large number of people in a short time. Adults have claimed that they need them to stave off feral hogs, but if your fourth-grader is doing battle with a significant number of feral hogs, mistakes have already been made. Mistakes that likely cannot be fixed with a long gun.

Given that there have only been around 100 cases of death by feral hog in the United States since 1825, it seems fair to say that guns are far more of a threat to our children.

“A junior version of the AR-15 has no place in a kid’s toy box. America’s gun violence epidemic is claiming tens of thousands of lives each year as gunmakers, dealers, and vendors alike continue to put sales over safety by targeting kids with advertising of a deadly weapon,” Senator Markey said in a statement. “It’s shameful, irresponsible, and dangerous. The FTC must act immediately to prohibit the marketing of these weapons to children, a step that could save lives.”

The bill, titled the Protecting Kids from Gun Marketing Act would:

  • Direct the FTC to promulgate a rule prohibiting the marketing of firearms to minors;
  • Require the FTC to report to Congress on enforcement of the rule;
  • Authorize state attorneys general to bring actions for violations of the rule; and
  • Establish a private right of action for individuals to bring actions for violation of the rule.
  • It's not clear if WEE 1 is the only weapons manufacturer marketing specifically to kids, but there are multiple listicles online advising parents on which hunting guns or handguns are best suited for small children. Because sure, why not give your third-grader a Glock? What could possibly go wrong?

    Unfortunately, the legislation is unlikely to pass, given that Republicans have a majority in the House and, well ...

    Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

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    Robyn Pennacchia

    Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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