Gun Safety during the Holidays: Ask to keep your children safe!
A friend recently shared what happened last year during a holiday visit to her parents’ house. While looking for medicine to soothe a headache, she opened a drawer and found a loaded, unsecured gun. As the mother of two young children, she was shocked that her parents would have left a loaded gun in a drawer within reach of her curious children.
It would be a tragedy for any family to experience an accidental injury or death due to an unsecured firearm this holiday season. But given the prevalence of unlocked guns in homes across the country—1.7 million homes have unlocked, loaded guns according to a study in Pediatrics-the risk is very real.
This holiday season we at MomsRising urge you to ask your family if they own any guns, and if so, whether the guns are locked safely with ammunition stored separately (and also locked), out of your child’s reach.
These conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable, but they also save lives! Need help starting the conversation? We’ve pulled together some resources below to help.
Thankfully, when my friend went to her parents and said, “I am not judging, but I need for my children to be safe while we’re in your house, so I need for you to lock up your guns,” her parents agreed to lock up all of their guns while their grandchildren were in the house. But just in case they might forget, my friend now asks them before and during each visit to their home.
My friend was lucky; she found the gun before one of her children did. Tragically, not all stories end this way. From December 2012 – December 2013, at least 100 children aged 14 and under died from unintentional shootings; 65% of these happened in the house or vehicle of the victim’s family, and another 19% took place in a relative or friend’s home, according to a recent report from Everytown.org.
There are many stories like this that do not make the news or the statistics, but are tragic and life altering for the child and their family.
It can be hard—and awkward—to bring up gun safety with your relatives. But it could save your child’s life.
In the new year, MomsRising will be working in NC and beyond to organize gatherings to help you get more comfortable having the critical conversations that can help reduce the risk of shooting accidents or gun violence in your life. Sign up now to get MomsRising’s discussion guide and find out more about bringing a gathering to your area. Sign up at: http://action.momsrising.org/survey/PracticeGunSafetyTalk/
In the meantime, here are a few resources and news stories with tips that can help:
- http://askingsaveskids.org - The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign promotes a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe. ASK, “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” before sending your child over to play.
Please commit to talking to your family and friends about gun safety, and share what works in the comments.
MomsRising.org wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!