More Than 8.5 Million Students Nationwide Will Attend Schools With Secure Firearm Storage Policies During Next School Year Following Passage of Orange County, Florida Resolution
Orange County, Florida is the Eighth Largest School District in the Nation and Fourth Largest District in Florida, Covering 209,000 Students
Up to 80% of School Shooters Under the Age of 18 Obtain Their Gun From the Home; In 2015, Moms Demand Action Launched the Be SMART Secure Firearm Storage Awareness Campaign
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Have Urged School Boards Across the Country to Pass Resolutions Requiring Schools to Educate Parents About Secure Firearm Storage
NEW YORK — Beginning next school year, more than 8.5 million students across the country will live in a district that requires schools to educate parents about the critical role of secure firearm storage in keeping students safe — more than quadruple the number of students covered as recently as December 2021. This comes after the School Board of Orange County, Florida voted on Tuesday night to pass a Secure Storage and Gun Safety Resolution. The decision, which followed tireless advocacy from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, will help protect the district’s 209,000 students from gun violence in and out of school and follows similar actions from districts nationwide.
“These local actions go a long way in protecting our kids — both in and out of school,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “At least 4.6 million kids in America currently live in homes with unsecured guns, and gun violence continues to impact our youth population in unimaginable ways. Our work has helped ensure that more than 8.5 million school families will receive secure storage materials, and our grassroots army of volunteers will keep fighting to ensure every parent and caretaker in America understands it’s their responsibility to safely secure their guns.”
“Every single gun in this country should be stored securely,” said Bryce Warner, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Florida and a Orange County Public Schools student. “It’s hard to view school as a place to learn, be with friends, or enjoy ourselves when we have to constantly worry about gun violence. We’re proud to live in a county that puts our safety first, and we’ll continue fighting for our right to be safe in school and everywhere else.”
“Secure firearm storage can be the difference between life and death,” said Linda Coffin, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As adults, we have a critical responsibility to make sure guns are kept out of reach from our children. This resolution is a win for our kids and a win for our communities. We’re proud to work with the school board in this major victory.”
Over the past three years, volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, have successfully urged school boards across the country to enact such notification policies, including districts in Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, and Colorado. Earlier this year, California became the first state in the country to enact a statewide secure storage notification policy for all public and charter schools after Governor Newsom signed SB 906 and AB 452 into law.
Advocating for secure firearm storage is part of Everytown’s comprehensive approach to keeping schools safe from all forms of gun violence, along with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. According to research from the U.S. Secret Service, up to 76% of school shooters obtain their gun from their home or the home of relatives. During a summit in September, the White House released an announcement including several elements long championed by Everytown, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action including a focus on school safety and the need to promote and expand programs for secure firearm storage at home.
In addition to preventing gun violence on school grounds, research shows that secure firearm storage also plays a vital role in reducing unintentional shootings and gun suicide. Every year, hundreds of American children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. Over the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among young people has increased faster than in any other age group, and today, it’s at a near all-time high. By keeping firearms securely stored, gun owners can help mitigate the risk of gun violence in and out of schools.
Everytown’s grassroots networks have long advocated for secure firearm storage. In 2015, Moms Demand Action launched the Be SMART campaign to raise awareness that responsible gun storage – storing guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition — can save children’s lives. Today, there are thousands of Be SMART volunteers active across all 50 states, and the National PTA, Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives have endorsed the campaign.