What’s wrong with this picture? It gives the impression that small children gaining access to firearms is a big problem. It isn’t. The number of children under 10 who die from accidentally shooting themselves or another child is, thankfully, in the single digits. In a country of 313 million people and 347 million firearms, that is a remarkable safety record. So why the picture of a four-year-old with a revolver  . . .

Simple. Shock propaganda aimed at the non-gun owner. An attempt to further demonize guns amongst the ignorant and antagonistic (or some combination thereof). If you dig into the campaign further, you’ll see the ad as an attempt to push gun owners to lock up their guns when “not in use.” The ad is couched in terms of in terms of “gun safety,” pushing the idea that all guns should be “locked up.”

The anti-gun agitprop was created by the “National Crime Prevention Council,” ye olde McGruff the Crime Dog folks, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. It’s distributed by The Ad Council, a propaganda organ of the ruling elite thinly disguised as a non-profit; enabled by air time, print and billboard space donated by the mainstream media.

This campaign “happens” to echo the latest push for gun control by the left: the San Francisco ordinance that any handgun in the home that’s not being carried on the person of an adult must be locked up. An idea echoed in a proposed Los Angeles ordinance. But there is no evidence that requiring guns to be locked-up reduces accidents or crime or suicides. From the study by Lott and Whitley (pdf):

It is frequently assumed that safe-storage gun laws reduce accidental gun deaths and total suicides, while the possible impact on crime rates is ignored. We find no support that safe-storage laws reduce either juvenile accidental gun deaths or suicides.  Instead, these storage requirements appear to impair people’s ability to use guns defensively. Because accidental shooters also tend to be the ones most likely to violate the new law, safe-storage laws increase violent and property crimes against law-abiding citizens with no observable offsetting benefit in terms of reduced accidents or suicides.

Some would argue that the campaign only asks people to secure their guns voluntarily. I suggest the idea is to demonize guns and promote the concept that guns are bad and should be locked up. I will change my mind when the Ad Council starts doing public service announcements that urge responsible people to carry guns to reduce crime.  I would even accept a “Do You Carry?  Get Trained” campaign.  I think I will be waiting a long time.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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67 Responses to What’s Wrong With This Picture: Gun Safety Edition

  1. Or teach your kids about guns – but that’s a non-politically correct solution.

    And I agree – with about 500 accidents per year – it would be better to pursue “lightening strike” education. Of those 500 a minute fraction are small kids who found a gun. Depending on their age and abilities (as judged by the parents – not a billboard) they could be taught safety rather than fearful ignorance.

    • I dare say those unsupervised kids who shot themselves would likely have drowned in a pool or tried to fly off the roof. But those ways don’t count to gun grabbers.

      • In my state what they found is almost all, over 80%,of gun injuries and 90% of fatalities involving minors under 10 were with illegal guns in the homes of prior criminals or active criminals and/or gang members. A gang anger brother, released felon boyfriend of a single mother is the gun owner in most cases

        What we also know is that the majority of non gun harm, beatings to death and other non gun murder of children, knifings, sexual abuse, statutory rape, are also occurring in homes with a prior or active criminal domiciled in the home.

        The issue is not guns and storage laws or mandatory training that criminals don’t care about. The issue is prior criminals in general domiciled with children. No one will touch that wire when scapegoating gun owners is easier

        • That’s what I see. I see a child’s enthusiasm for guns as a wonderful thing. There’s something the whole family can do together. It sure is a lot easier to talk to your children and teach them about guns and gun safety than it is to talk to them about sex. I would say that sex has caused bigger problems for this country than guns.
          Now if the kid was pointing the gun at himself or a sibling, then the ad would have more meaning. Either way, parents need to be parents and stop relying on government to raise our children.

    • I would wonder if this child is in far more danger from photographer than that gun…anyone have statistics on pedophile photographers vs gun deaths for small children…..

  2. Where are the pro-2A billboards?

    Being anti-gun is simply having the mindset of denying history and taking for granted the very freedom good people with guns won for them to be able to open their mouths to say such stupid things.

    We wouldn’t be having a 4th of July without good guys and guns. We would still have slavery. Hilter would’ve conquered Europe. Every crazy dictator that wasn’t overthrown in history would still be in power.

    Being anti-gun is the same as being a proponent of Victimhood. Disarm yourself and throw yourself at the mercy of your attacker! It’s complete and utter stupidity. Worse, it’s insanity. Doing the same action over and over expecting a different result.

    Just look at gun free zones. They get good people killed all the time. Over and over. Yet these zones still persist. It’s simple insanity folks.

    I don’t think antis don’t grasp history, I think they’re just willfully ignoring it just to be contrary. Kind of like hipsters and culture. Hipsters just love to be contrary and endeavor to be different … except in doing so, they are all alike, which defeats the entire inane purpose of it. Which is simple “look at me” narcissism. Idiocy.

  3. Most anti-gun groups include little children that die of guns as teenage gangbangers, but it seems that they are keeping the age group under five in this case. The number of children under five who die in firearm accidents each year is, thankfully, in the single digits.
    The 0-14
    age group accounted for 5 percent (2,136) of those traffic fatalities.
    Maybe we need to lock up the car and put it in a safe?

  4. If I had a young but ambulatory child in my home, I would definitely keep my home defense guns locked up. But I shouldn’t have to by law.

  5. Not to belittle the topic, but more damage is done from adults with less intellect than this kid at the polls.

      • before i thought in terms of the teat suckling masses from reading here, i would have thought that extremely intrusive.
        now i am all for this requirement.

      • Because making people pay to vote is unconstitutional and you dn well know it.

        Don’t like it? I’ll say the same thing to you that I say to people who want to take away my gun rights because they don’t like them: tough shit. This is America and these are the rules.

        • States with voter ID laws give free IDs, because otherwise it’s a poll tax.

        • So it’s OK for states to charge a fee to exercise a right explicitly expressed in the Constitution as ‘Shall not be infringed’, but it’s not OK for states to require a free state issued ID to exercise a right that the Constitution says is to be left up to the states? That’s fucked up.

        • You do realize there is in “right to vote” in federal elections right? There are a few states that specifically say there is a right to vote in their state’s Constitutions, but that was when elections was a responsibility left up to individual states and localities.

          The problem is when people throw around the concept of “rights” in situations it doesn’t belong in.

  6. 4? About time to take the kid out to the range and show him how to shoot. I don’t think he’d be capable of actually pulling the 11lb. trigger on that Smith anyway, and besides it’s not even loaded.

  7. Once had a sheriff bring his kid to my property to shoot (friends with the guy). His kid tried shooting daddy’s glock 21 just like that kid on the billboard. Needless to say I had to refrain from doing any teaching/correcting when the kid got hit in the head, began to cry, and dad tried telling him REPEATEDLY that he didn’t get hit in the head…

    The odd thing about this is that the sheriff is also the range master at the sheriff’s range… You’d think he would have given some preemptive instruction to the little guy.

  8. As usual, liberal lawyers will parse every legal ruling in order to find a way to subvert the intent of the ruling without violating the letter of the ruling.

    Wasn’t part of the Heller decision about the need in Washington D.C. to have any gun in your home unloaded and non-functional? I may be mis-remembering the actual legal case. At any rate, that requirement having been found unconstitutional the anti2A leftist statists are now pushing this idea that it’s perfectly okay to have a functional firearm in your home as long as you carry it around with you. Subvert the intent, not the letter.

    What I want to know is, how do they plan to enforce this law? Mandatory random inspections of homes where persons are known to posses firearms? Your kid in school casually mentions Daddy’s new Glock and when you get home the front door is broken and the police are checking to make sure said Glock, and every other gun you own, is “properly” locked up?

    This whole concept has the putrid stink of creeping fascism, IMO.

    • P.S. I recommend ALWAYS answering the door with a slung AR or AK on your person, or a shotgun in the crook of your left arm. Let’s see how they respond to that, especially the leftist political hacks who are soon to be in your neighborhood pushing for Hilary and all the other left-wing fascists on the Progressive ticket(s).

    • Wasn’t part of the Heller decision about the need in Washington D.C. to have any gun in your home unloaded and non-functional?

      The DC law did not allow an owner to carry a functioning gun in his own home! Every gun on the premises was required to be taken apart and stowed away. The SF ordinance permits the gun to be carried in the home, and requires that any gun NOT carried be locked up.

      • As I was saiying, Ralph – liberal lawyers/legislators parsing the letter of the law to undermine it’s intent. You can now have a functional gun in your home, but you either carry it around with you everywhere or you lock it up where you cannot easily get to it when you need it. I doubt this was the original intent of reversing the “must be unloaded and non-functional” regulations.

  9. “Single digits” is less than ten deaths a year. Somehow I don’t think that that is accurate. The actual rate is somewhere between one or two a day for accidental deaths. And many of these involve small children who point the gun at their face and use both thumbs to depress the trigger.

    Other than that, I agree with the article completely. There are no children in my home, and I have no grandchildren or prospects of same for years to come. Why should I have to lock up my guns? Yet this is precisely whet the SF ordinance (and apparently the LA ordinance modeled after it) requires. [To add to the stupidity of the law is that the proposed LA ordinance has been amended to exempt police officers and RETIRED officers from the law, because these people apparently have a greater need to access their firearms at home than the rest of us–yet it was the “minimal” burden of a one or two second delay in retrieving a firearm from a lock box that convinced the federal district court and the Ninth Circuit that the law was constitutional.

    • Accidental deaths for children (under 14) is jess that 100 annually. As I recall is consistently been around 60.

      Too many certainly, but it’s a near guarantee that more children’s lives are saved by the use of a firearm than that.

    • Here is the citation from John Lott. The single digits are those of children under 10 who shoot another child or themselves:

      “These deaths also have little to do with “naturally curious” children shooting other children. From 1995 to 2001 only about nine of these accidental gun deaths each year involve a child under 10 shooting another child or themselves. Overwhelmingly, the shooters are adult males with long histories of alcoholism, arrests for violent crimes, automobile crashes, and suspended or revoked driver’s licenses.”

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/10/10/guns-dont-kill-kids-irresponsible-adults-with-guns-do.html

      I have corrected the article to reflect this citation.

  10. UK licencing law prohibits access to any unlawful person, id est anyone other than the licence holder or person with equivalent licence entitlements; seems satisfactorily sensible enough to me.

    • “Unlawful person” should mean convicted criminals, not good people who don’t have enough money to bribe the local jackboots.

      • If you make any allowance for the government (any government) to INFRINGE on the right to keep and bear arms on the basis of saying, “Okay, you can create a list of ‘unlawful persons’ who may not exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms based on a criminal conviction, who then determines which criminal convictions rescind your right? Who writes the laws in the first place? How about if they decide it is illegal to criticize the government on an Internet blog (you laugh – don’t) and make that an offense, if convicted, that removes forever your 2A protected right?

        And by the way, while I’m thinking of this, can we police ourselves a little and stop referring to this as a Second Amendment right? It is NOT a Second Amendment right, it is a natural, civil and Constitutionally PROTECTED right, and it exists whether the Constitution or the Bill of Rights exists or not. End of rant.

    • You live in a nation that would prosecute you for defending yourself with your firearm, may as well store it at the shooting club in that case. So while this may seem sensible to you, it is not to us as we have a different starting point.

    • That’s true in the U.S., as well. However, that usually interpreted as acquiring and/or possessing with respect to prohibited persons. And the burden is not placed on the public at large.

      Though some states may require a firearms owner ID (as we do in IL), there are no general licensing requirements. Even with the FOID, all I do is present it. The dealer will verify it, but state law prohibits the IL State Police from keeping a record, if I remember correctly. The (intentional) lack of records is one of the reasons you see such wide range of numbers (tens of millions) on the estimated number of guns in the U.S. They really don’t know.

      That prohibited criteria is really quite narrow too, and are very loose regarding children. My son is 11. He can legally posses and use under my supervision. I’ll be getting him his FOID card soon and then he can own. His main restriction is in owning a hand gun, though he can of course use “mine” with supervision. And if he has to defend himself at home, he is allowed by law. BTW, as restrictive as IL is perceived there is not a minimum age for a FOID card.

      I point this out mostly because I know from travels that too often the picture of America is based on NYC, LA, DC &ct and gun laws by Chicago, San Franscisco or New Jersey. That really is a misrepresentation of most of America. For most of the nation, guns are far more than a mere cultural affection. They are a part of what defines us. For much of the Mid West it is considered as much a “life skill” as riding a bike or swimming. For many, a boy’s first BB gun is almost a rite of passage.

      In contrast, the is a small but very loud and well funded minority that would have a European approach/attitude towards arms in place here. They have had some success in some of the few progressive leaning states but have been on the long defeat elsewhere.
      Even in progressive states there is often great resistance and gun control advocates have to resort to more duplicitous means to sell their ideals.

      I know I was long, but to understand why so many get bent out of shape by these kind of restriction, it helps to understand the depth of the role of guns in our society.

      • Great point Raul-I live in Cook co. and the level of ignorance by commenters HERE is staggering. And I live in maybe the best southern suburb(for guns anyway). I get all the vitriol about Chiraq-but even then it was stated that Chicago is the #1 July 4th destination in America.No mass murders during fireworks,ball games or Dead concerts(yet!). Take out the south and westsides(and sadly northside near the lake)AND the dumbazz gangbangers who leave their gun lying around for their 3 year old cousin/nephew to shoot themselves and crime and violence tumbles. But we already know that…

    • Well, it’s increased your violent crime rate, including homicides. In short, what seems like a good idea to you has gotten people killed. That doesn’t seem

    • “UK licencing law prohibits access to any unlawful person, id est anyone other than the licence holder or person with equivalent licence entitlements;”

      That’s the primary difference between the U.K. and the U.S.A., Over here we’re considered not to be criminals until found guilty by due process of law.

      Law. That is something that a subject of the Crown has little experience in.

      “seems satisfactorily sensible enough to me.”

      Yeah. I bet it would be satisfactory to someone who only knows how to kneel.

      Tell you what, *you* stay a subject, we’ll stay free men (and women).

      Thank you for reminding us of this on the anniversary of our divorce with your Monarch.

      It sure looks like we made the right choice.

      *snicker*

  11. If that revolver is anything like the ones I own, except Dan Wesson model 14 .357, would be difficult for a 4 yr. kid be able to pull the trigger sufficient to discharge a round. Revolvers, out of the box have a stout trigger pull, designed to be that way as a safety measure.
    All, my handguns are unloaded, locked up, unless on body or within reach. Don’t even have very young kids in our home, ever.

  12. It’s easy to decry misleading ads like the one shown, but important to ask what what responsible gun owners are doing about it.

    I cringe every time I see pro-gun ads that equate ownership with patriotism because we’re loosing the PR battle for the hearts and minds of the general public. Likewise, hunting often gets equated to killing adorable Disney characters.

    The tobacco industry was incredibly effective for years even though cigarettes were dubbed ‘coffin nails’ by the public. In addition to litigation, it seems like we can do a better job of promoting gun ownership to the public – not just to those of us that enjoy them.

    • No, actually where we are losing is in the schools. When antis are teaching “guns = horrible, evil, bad” at the 5 year old level and continuing through the years, they need merely wait for the rest of us to die off.

      We are seeing a resurgence in hunting and shooting teams in schools. Of course, shooting sports remain a staple for Scouts. Campus carry is leading to some major victories that are undermining the anti’s long game. So the trend may be shifting and at the least is slowing.

      However, we need to do more. In particular, it’s not enough to let them get away with an “Oops, we’re sorry,” when they have to backtrack because a kid chewed a Pop Tart into the wrong shape. They leave still leave the negative message in place. We need to demand an admission of wrong, not a simple backtracking.

      • “Of course, shooting sports remain a staple for Scouts”
        Didn’t they just ban squirt guns? How much longer do you really think riflery and pistol-shooting will remain merit badges at this point? The Scouts are no longer anything resembling the original mission of instilling faith, morals, and manliness in boys so they could be pillars of civilization as adults.

        • Actually, that’s not a new policy. It’s been around many, many years. It’s also one of the most ridiculed and ignored policies in Scouting.

          And no, shooting won’t be leaving Scouts any time soon. They have actually opened up more options. At one time it was (insanely!) only targets you could shoot. They’ve added animal silhouette and 3D targets now. Still waiting for the PETA crowd to freak out on that one. Once you’re over 14, you semi-auto pistols and large caliber rifles, as well.

          Actually, I’ve always thought that the reason behind the squirt gun policy – and itf you read the manual, I’m not sure it would apply to super soakers – has to do with all the shooting that goes on at camp. When you teaching all these new shooters, I can understand – whether I agree or not – the idea of keeping good gun discipline in that venue.

      • “No, actually where we are losing is in the schools. When antis are teaching “guns = horrible, evil, bad” at the 5 year old level and continuing through the years, they need merely wait for the rest of us to die off. ”

        They’re teaching two opposing viewpoints.

        When they watch movies – videos, they see guns portrayed as tools righting wrongs as well as evil.

        It they want to make headway, they must decree that *any* portrayal of a firearm will only be that guns have magical powers to slaughter everyone. That ain’t gonna be happening.

        You’re also forgetting the wonderful power of kids rejecting the ‘establishment’, like all the crap they’re taught in public schools.

    • They truly were the first ‘super PAC’ if you think about it, except they were in so deep they were actually getting government funds along with ‘donations’ from money-laundering sleaze-balls. Bunch of media types and the pols they cover in a circle jerk.

  13. Exceptionally irresponsible ad. This should be taken down immediately as it promotes misuse and danger.

    Kids see ads visually. What does it say? It says pick up a handgun and shoot, that’s what is says. The ad visually promotes how fun it is to grab a handgun and fire it, yes, you, a young child can do it! The finger is on the trigger, a grin on the face. Go home and look for a firearm when you get out of the car, how exciting!

    Who are these a-holes who put up these ads? I suppose they believe they are smart. On the contrary, they are as dumb as rocks. Either that or they have an ulterior motive to cause accidents and then use to further their agenda to eliminate the 2A.

    Locking up a firearm makes it useless as a self-defense product. Demanding/mandating a firearm is locked away then is a clear infringement of Rights to self-preservation/protection/survival.

    • Yes, well I have it from a usually reliable inside source that four out of five SCOTUS justices are certain that “Infringed” means that the little tasselly things are on the inside of the garment, not the outside.

    • It’s okay cause they’re shaming us out of our rights. Like our ad showing armed children defending themselves, which doesn’t exist (despite the fact it has actually happened more than a few times.)

  14. The author did make one key error. Since 1981, the number of children under 5 who died from firearms accidents was only a single digit number once (in 2003, when it was 7). The number is quite small and has fallen dramatically over the past 3 decades, but it is not a single digit number and may never be again.

    • Exactly. Citation needed if this is the “truth about guns”. The latest CDC info from 2013 is 30 accidental firearms deaths for kids under 5 years old. 30 is not a single digit number. It’s so low it isn’t worth this kind of ad campaign, but lets at least be honest about it.

      • You are correct, and it shows how easy it is to misstate a figure from memory. The “single digit” reference is to the number of children under 10 who accidentally die from shooting themselves or another.

        The number of children under 5 who die from accidental gun shots averages about 30. It was 19 in 2007.

  15. While I agree that this advertisement misses the mark, I feel that the rhetoric of “safes are stupid and education is all you ever need” is disingenuous. If you belive giving your child a sit down and a pamphlet was all you had to do to prevent mistakes, then you should feel comfortable keeping a loaded gun above their bed right? A safe is a tool, just like a gun. And like a gun should be used intelligently.

  16. I just saw the TV ad on some channel called the Heroes Channel? It somehow made a link to running with scissors and gun owners.

  17. I got much better pictures of my children shooting all sorts of firearms. Parents need to teach their kids about the world and not about abstract utopias. This includes the proper handling of firearms, they exist, they are real, get used to it.

  18. I would argue that your suggestion of “do you carry? Get trained.” Is just as bad. That too demonizes guns by implying that guns are so inherently complex and dangerous, that no ordinary untrained person could possibly carry one safely.

  19. I wonder if they pulled a “Free Willy” and actually had to give that kid a real gun. If the gun is real they did. If its not then he is just playing w/ a toy gun, which is a very OK thing to do.

    The problem many have w/ this pic is that the kid is not dead. Some people want grizzly juvenile deaths in order to wave the bloodiest shirt they can find. How many times a year in America does a kid get his hands on a gun (when he/she is not supposed to), fondles it, and then puts it back without mom or dad knowing? I would be willing to bet for every kid that dies – thousands handled a gun without anything happening. Its not a good thing for sure but I willing to bet money that car keys laying around the house are statistically as dangerous or more so but that does not conjure up the cringe worthy visual that a gun does.

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