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Kohl Denounces House Vote to End Child Safety Gun Lock Law

Location: Washington, DC

Kohl Denounces House Vote to End Child Safety Gun Lock Law

Senator will work to restore law that requires child safety locks with handgun sales

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) today condemned a recent House vote to strip federal funding used to enforce his child safety lock law -- an effort to end the requirement less than a year after Congress passed it into law with broad, bipartisan support. The legislation is designed to protect children from some of the thousands of shootings each year that involve children and teenagers.

Kohl's measure, which requires a child safety lock to be sold with every handgun in the United States, overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Bush last year. Last month, the House of Representatives agreed to an amendment to the FY 2007 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill blocking funding to enforce the requirement.

"It is absurd to argue that a five dollar safety lock makes personal protection more costly," Kohl said. "These locks protect kids. Each year, children and teenagers are involved in more than ten thousand accidental shootings. Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented by the use of a hand gun lock. In the face of such facts, it is no wonder that seventy Senators voted to add the child safety lock provision to last year's gun liability bill and President Bush agreed. What changed in the last nine months?"

Kohl's comments came during consideration of the CJS Appropriations Bill in today's Appropriations Committee hearing. Kohl said he will work to throw out the House amendment during conference negotiations expected later this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1.7 million children live in households with unlocked and loaded guns. The CDC also found that 151 children died in 2003 from accidental gunshot wounds.

A study by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that 39 percent of kids knew where their parents kept guns in their home and 22 percent claimed that they handled them, without their parent's knowledge.

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