South Carolina Be SMART Volunteers Applaud Richland School District Two, Neighboring Districts For Partnering with Be SMART Program to Promote Secure Gun Storage
The Partnership is Also Supported by Local Law Enforcement and Public Health Leaders
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released the following statement after officials with Richland School District Two and several neighboring school districts announced a partnership with the Be SMART Program this week. The partnership, which encourages responsible gun ownership and safety practices, is supported by leaders in local law enforcement and public health, including Prisma Health, The Medical University of South Carolina-Midlands, and The Regional Medical Center – Orangeburg.
“By partnering with the Be SMART program, officials in Richland Two and all of the other participating districts have demonstrated their commitment to keeping kids safe from unsecured firearms,” said Poornema Ramasamy, a Be SMART volunteer in South Carolina. “Just this past week in Michigan, we saw the devastation that can ensue when gun owners fail to store their guns securely. Promoting secure storage is critical to keeping gun violence out of classrooms and preventing unintentional shootings and gun suicide, and we encourage leaders across South Carolina to follow suit.”
Guns are the leading cause of death among South Carolina’s youth population. In an average year, 78 children and teens die by guns in the state. More on South Carolina gun violence can be found here.
Secure storage practices play a vital role in reducing the risk of gun violence among young people. In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun they used from their home or the homes of friends or relatives. An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t lock all of their guns securely and it’s estimated that 5.4 million children live in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded gun, an increase of 800,000 children since 2015. Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely — unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
The Be SMART program, developed by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, helps 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 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 securely store your firearms, visit the Be SMART website.