For Release: Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Tom Diaz, author of Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America and Senior Policy Analyst at the Violence Policy Center (VPC), testified before the Senate Commerce Committee today.
Diaz revealed how the firearms industry has secured its future through the recruitment of children to the gun culture.
In 1998, 2,887 children and youth 18 years of age and younger were killed by firearms. That number of deaths in an ordinary year in America is the equivalent of 206 Columbine shootings.
“We recoil at the blood of children shot down by firearms. But the gun industry sees children as the lifeblood of the firearms business,” Diaz said.
Specifically Diaz focused on how the gun industry has ensured easy accessability of guns to children; its aggressive marketing of firearms to children; and, how children’s access to guns is a direct result of an unregulated gun industry, perpetuated by the gun lobby.
“The epidemic of violence by and against young people in this country cannot be addressed by solely looking at the marketing of violence to children. We must examine and confront the easy accessibility of firearms in tandem with those deadly images,” Diaz said.
Firearm manufacturers have placed a high premium on marketing guns to children. From full page ads in Boys’ Life to using Hollywood to showcase their latest and greatest firearms in violent movies, the gun industry works to target tomorrow’s customers today.
“The gun industry has been given a free pass to create increasingly lethal weapons and market them to children because it is one of only two products in the United States, the other being tobacco, not regulated for health and safety. They have used this deadly immunity, the biggest loophole in our nation’s gun laws, to their full advantage,” Diaz said.