Secure Firearm Storage is Critical to Help Prevent Child Gun Deaths and Injuries, Youth Suicide, and Gunfire on School Grounds; Be SMART Encourages Responsible Firearm Storage Practices
#NotAnAccident Index Reveals There Have Been at Least 158 Unintentional Shootings by Children Nationwide This Year, Resulting in 68 Deaths and 99 Injuries Nationally
NEW YORK – Be SMART, a program of the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, joined local law enforcement in 20 states to promote secure firearm storage during National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes neighborhood camaraderie to keep neighborhoods safe and secure. Moms Demand Action volunteers joined events across the country to spread awareness of the Be SMART campaign, which emphasizes the importance of storing firearms securely – unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition. During National Night Out, neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other various community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and exhibits. To learn more, visit https://natw.org/about.
“There’s no question that our country is facing a gun violence crisis, but we can all do our part to stop school shootings, unintentional shootings, and gun suicide before it happens by making sure kids can’t get access to guns in the first place,” said Amy Sarno, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Making sure that all firearms are stored securely and always inaccessible to children is an easy and simple step that has the power to save countless lives. We’re grateful to partner with National Night Out events to spread the word about Be SMART and the importance of secure storage.”
This year, volunteers hosted Be SMART tables during nearly 100 National Night Out events with local law enforcement officials in at least 20 different states, including Missouri, Maryland, Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, South Dakota, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, California, Iowa, New York, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States, and an estimated 13 million households with children under the age of 18 contain at least one gun. Approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun that is kept loaded and unlocked. Research shows that to protect children and teens, gun owners should store guns unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
Volunteers around the country have been working to raise awareness and prevent more unintentional shootings by educating their communities with Everytown’s Be SMART program — a program designed to help parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries, youth suicide, and gunfire on school grounds.
The Be SMART program encourages parents and adults to:
- Secure all guns in their home and vehicles
- Model responsible behavior around guns
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide
- Tell your peers to be SMART
For more information on the Be SMART program and how to secure your firearms, visit the Be SMART website. Additional information about unintentional shootings is here. If you are interested in connecting with a local volunteer or speaking with a policy or research expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.