Guns for Kids Marketing Debate Ignited by Latest Child Death

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Four Shootings By Children in Past Month

Sugarmann said that the gun industry's marketing to youth has been going on for years, and has been ramped up over past 15 years or so. He points to a summer 2007 editorial in Shooting Sports Retailer magazine in which columnist Bruce Bear discusses how to market to a newer, younger customer.

"It's absolutely critical for us to pass a love of shooting and hunting on to the next generation," Bear wrote. "Due to heavy public sensitivity to the irresponsible promotion of firearms to youth, every promotion should foster both respect for and safety with firearms."

According to the Violence Policy Center, from 1977 to 2010, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped more than 40 percent. The cause, the group believes, is the aging of the current gun owning population and a lack of interest in guns by youth.

Sugarmann said that the ongoing marketing effort towards youth is no shameful secret, and that the focus is industry wide. The solution as he sees it is legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the youth.

"We believe possession laws should mirror laws for purchase 18 for long guns, 21 for hand guns," he said. "The idea of putting a gun into a child's hand should be viewed as a crime."

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