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A Chicago Democrat is proposing a new law that would prohibit the manufacture and marketing of firearms for youth shooters, a move that could threaten a large and growing portion of the firearms industry with lawsuits and chip away at efforts to teach gun safety to a new generation of enthusiasts.
Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly, whose district includes some of Chicago’s violence-plagued South Side, proposed the Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act July 14 — just days after the Windy City suffered 82 shootings over the Independence Day weekend.
The proposed bill would “prohibit any person from marketing firearms to children,” barring the use of cartoon characters to promote guns, forbidding child-sized marketing materials such as hats and t-shirts, and would ban the manufacture of guns in colors “with the purpose of appealing to children.”
Kid-friendly guns are becoming increasingly popular with many firearms manufacturers as gun sales among traditional customers cools off. Gunmakers including Savage, Ruger and Keystone Sporting Rifles — which markets its youth “Crickett” rifle using a cartoon character — are all cashing in on the growing popularity of shooting in the youth market and could be hit by Federal Trade commission sanctions if Kelly’s bill becomes law.
“America has a gun violence problem. It’s time that we face it head on by instituting common sense gun reforms to save lives,” Kelly has said. “We can strike the right balance between protecting the Second Amendment and promoting public safety by keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”
The freshman lawmaker has been a leading figure in the House of Representatives on proposing new gun control laws. In June, Kelly released a report on America’s “gun violence epidemic” and has proposed a host of laws, including mandating gun research from the Surgeon General’s office, requiring federal safety standards for firearms and renewing the “assault weapons” ban.
“Congresswoman Kelly has quickly risen in the Congress to be a national leader and relentless advocate for victims of gun violence in Chicago and across the country,” said Leader Pelosi. “It is long past time for Congress to take strong, concrete steps to reduce gun violence in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities."
Kelly’s Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act has no cosponsors and it is unclear whether the Republican-led House will take up the legislation.