JUNEAU, AK. — The Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statement applauding the adoption of a statewide resolution for Alaskan public schools and school boards to encourage Be SMART education and the distribution of secure storage information. Be SMART, a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions to prevent child gun deaths and injuries. The resolution was adopted on Tuesday by the Association of Alaska School Boards and is a testament to years of advocacy on the part of Be SMART volunteers across the state.
“This is a vital step towards ensuring Alaska families are educated on how to keep their loved ones safe by securely storing their firearms,” said Rochelle Parker, a volunteer with the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Keeping guns locked in a safe place is crucial for preventing unintended shootings and unauthorized access to deadly weapons.Through this resolution, more Alaskans will have access to resources and information regarding proper firearm storage. We look forward to working with local leaders across our state to promote responsible gun ownership and ensure our families are safe from senseless and preventable acts of gun violence.”
According to Everytown’s #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 American children under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equaling almost one unintentional shooting per day. In 2022, three students brought guns to Anchorage schools.
The Be SMART campaign was launched to raise awareness that secure gun storage—storing guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition—can save children’s lives. Be SMART emphasizes that it’s an adult’s responsibility to keep kids from accessing guns, and that every adult can play a role in keeping kids and communities safer. Over the past five years, advocates with the Be SMART program in Alaska have been raising awareness about the importance of secure gun storage on every level, fighting for the passage of similar resolutions in both Anchorage and Juneau as well as partnering with the Alaska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This Saturday, November 18, is National Injury Prevention Day. Be SMART is proud to stand with Injury Free Coalition for Kids and fellow National Injury Prevention Day partners in raising awareness on preventing injuries and violence among kids in America. Learn more at injuryfree.org.
In an average year, 173 people die by guns in Alaska. With a rate of 23.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Alaska has the 4th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the state, with an average of 21 firearm deaths every year. 60 percent of those deaths are firearm suicides. Gun violence costs Alaska $2.5 billion each year, of which $44.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Alaska is available here.