Milwaukee gun safety advocates hope for crackdown on gun marketing aimed at children

NOW: Milwaukee gun safety advocates hope for crackdown on gun marketing aimed at children

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- This week the White House announced plans to look into how firearms are marketed in an effort to keep them out of the hands of children.

Gun safety advocates in Milwaukee hope it will help stem the tide of gun violence.

A gun safety group claims gun manufacturers have made a concerted effort to appeal to children and young people in order to cultivate future gun owners.

The advocates hope President Biden's executive order is the first step to cracking down on the marketing campaigns.

Jeri Bonavia, the executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Efforts, said, "This is a means of grooming children to be the next generation of gun users."

Bonavia claims those marketing efforts are direct and intentional in order to make guns seem like toys, not deadly weapons.

Bonavia said, "We'll find guns that are made in Barbie pink or with Hello Kitty or other cartoonish characters."

It follows the President's calls for an independent government study into firearm marketing. Biden said Tuesday, "That analyzes and exposes how gun manufacturers aggressively market firearms to civilians, especially minors."

But pro-second amendment advocates say blaming manufacturers is wrong.

Adam Campbell, an instructor at Brew City Shooters Supply, told us this week, "I would say video games market firearms to kids way more than gun manufacturers do."

Debra Gillispie has been a gun safety advocate since her son was killed in 2003. She said young people often view guns as a symbol of power, safety or status.

Gillispie said, "Depending on what a kid sees all the time, you become numb thinking not that you're actually killing someone, but that a gun is the thing to have."

Since Feb. 19, nearly a dozen children have been shot in Milwaukee. Three died. In some cases, other minors were the shooter. In another a 5-year-old accidentally shot himself.

Bonavia said, "Putting children in danger, in the line of fire, is a price the gun industry is willing to pay."

President Biden called on the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report on how gun manufacturers market their guns. So far, the FTC has not responded to the President's comments.

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