Bill Introduced to Limit “Marketing of Firearms” Toward Children

   07.21.14

Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced a bill to Congress last Monday that would place strict rules on the “marketing of firearms to children.” The bill, known as HR 5093 or the “Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act,” would allow the Federal Trade Commission to “prescribe rules prohibiting the marketing of firearms to children.”

The bill includes a number of specific restrictions, including prohibitions on “the use of cartoon characters to promote firearms and firearm products,” “firearm brand name merchandise marketed for children,” and “the manufacturing of a gun with colors or designs that are specifically designed with the purpose to appeal to children,” among other stipulations. It also mandates that guns “intended for use by children” be clearly labeled with “Real gun, not a toy,” “Actual firearm the use of which may result in death or serious bodily injury,” “Dangerous weapon,” or other language approved by the Federal Trade Commission.

Kelly appeared alongside Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently when the governor announced his support for tougher gun laws in his state. At the press conference, Kelly reiterated her desire to see more gun control legislation passed on a federal level, despite heavy opposition to previous attempts at national gun control laws.

The bill has also been widely been criticized by gun rights advocates for what they see as ambiguous wording and broad reach. Popular political commentator and law professor Eugene Volokh even commented that the bill may be unconstitutional in several parts. Writing for The Washington Post, Volokh further stated that the labeling requirement in HR 5093 can in fact be dangerous.

“Most guns would still not be labeled. The more children learn ‘oh, there’s no ‘real gun’ label, this must be a toy,’ the more they will be at risk when they come across a normal gun,” Volokh wrote.

HR 5093 is currently under consideration by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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