Things to Do - Moms Demand Action's Be SMART campaign
We haven't heard from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in awhile now, so I asked them to update us on their campaign for common sense gun laws. As a gun-owning family (Dan hunts), Moms Demand Actions's new BE SMART campaign is near and dear to my heart (all of our firearms are kept in locked gun safes).
No matter how strongly you feel about gun rights issues, I think we can all agree that, as a society, we need to keep children away from loaded firearms in the home.
So please read below as Moms Demand Action member Kristin Jones updates us on how best to do this.
How often do we hear about children unintentionally shooting and injuring — or even killing — themselves or others after accessing an unsecured gun? Many of these shootings have a common thread: they may have been prevented if adults safely stored their guns. Tragically, as happened recently in Lunenburg, Virginia, a two-year-old boy unintentionally shot and killed himself after accessing a handgun in the dresser drawer of a family friend’s home.
Gun safety starts with everyone – gun owners and non gun owners alike – to ensure that a gun never gets into a child’s hands in the first place — and that means practicing safe storage, like keeping guns locked in a safe.
These types of shootings are preventable and why Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America recently launched a campaign called Be SMART. Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of American mothers fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and protect people from gun violence.
Be SMART aims to prevent unintentional child shootings by promoting the safe storage of guns. This new public education campaign asks gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children or teens get ahold of a gun. Every year, about 100 children 17-years-old and younger die in unintentional shootings, and more than 400 die by suicide with a gun. Many of these deaths are entirely preventable with responsible gun storage. These are five steps that can help keep kids safer:
S – Secure guns in homes and vehicles.
M – Model responsible behavior.
A – Ask about unsecured guns in other homes.
R – Recognize the risk of teen suicide.
T – Tell your peers to be SMART.
I know it’s difficult to talk about guns with other parents but as a mom of two elementary school kids, I now make sure to ask other parents about guns in their households and how they’re stored prior to my children’s playdates.
It may seem like an awkward conversation to have the first time, but parents already ask about allergies and backyard pools. Access to guns is a safety risk too.
I recently posed the question to the mother of my son’s new friend when I took him to the house for their first playdate. She said they do have guns, followed by an emphatic, “we keep them secured in the basement.”
Yet, with all the playdates my kids have been on, no one has ever asked me about a gun in my home. I think it’s because they do not think about it or they feel too awkward about bringing it up. If we are to increase child safety by lowering child access to firearms however, not only should we ask the question we should also be transparent. When kids come to our house for instance, I now ask about allergies and self-disclose that we do no have guns in our house.
Having conversations about gun safety and safe storage with children and their playmates’ parents are conversations that no parent can afford to skip. Maybe if we all start these awkward conversations, our communities will endure fewer tragedies like the one in Lunenburg. But talking isn’t enough. It is important gun owners take the necessary steps to properly secure their guns when children are in their homes.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.besmartforkids.org. Click here to download a useful handout to help you learn how to talk about responsible gun storage.
- Kristin Jones