The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Goleta Unified School District voted to approve a resolution to ensure parents are receiving information about the importance of securely storing firearms to protect children and teens from accessing guns at home.
The resolution directs the Superintendent to include a bilingual letter notifying parents and guardians of their legal responsibilities to safely store their firearms. The notification will be included in the annual registration materials at each school site, as well as in the student handbook.
“Secure storage is one of the easiest ways to prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides among children and teens,” said Kendall Pata, volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action in Santa Barbara. “With millions of children and teens still home from school and gun sales surging during the pandemic, secure gun storage is more important than ever. We are grateful to the Goleta Unified School District for passing this life-saving resolution.”
The Goleta Unified School District is the most recent system to proactively address secure firearm storage. The vote comes on the heels of other school systems in Los Angeles, Denver, and Phoenix passing similar resolutions in recent years. An NBC News story detailed the efforts of Moms Demand Action volunteers helping pass secure storage resolutions in school districts around the country. Currently, there are over 1 million students in school districts with secure storage notification policies in place.
Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. In the majority of school gun violence incidents involving a shooter under the age of 18, the shooter obtained the gun from home, their relative’s home or from friends. Additionally, almost 1,200 American children and teens die by firearm suicide each year and over 100 children and teens are unintentionally shot and killed. These numbers suggest that secure storage can be an effective tool in addressing gun violence among children and teens, as well as the source of guns used in school gun violence.
A 2019 study estimated that if half of households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented – saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.