Today marks National Injury Prevention Day, which raises awareness and promotes efforts to protect children from injuries, including unintentional shootings. Be SMART volunteers took action on Twitter and joined doctors, nurses, and community outreach personnel at trauma centers across the country this National Injury Prevention Day to raise awareness about the fight to end gun violence and prevent injuries among children. Research shows that one of the best ways to protect children and teens from accessing guns is to implement secure firearm storage practices. Almost every single day, a child gets their hands on a gun and unintentionally kills or injures themselves or someone else in the US.
“My son, JaJuan, was shot and killed in an unintentional shooting when he was just 14 years old — no family should have to endure the pain and heartbreak that I have,” said Julvonnia McDowell, a Be SMART volunteer and Everytown Senior Survivor Fellow. “This National Injury Prevention Day, we stand with child safety advocates and injury prevention groups in calling for change. Unintentional shootings like the one that took my son are preventable, and it is critical that everyone, gun owners and non gun owners alike, take action and get involved.”
This National Injury Prevention Day, Be SMART volunteers partnered with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, supplying 500 Be SMART informational cards and gun locks provided by Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership to be distributed by staff when doing home safety visits. Tomorrow, leaders in Iowa City, Iowa will hold a Be SMART presentation to the Iowa City Firearm Safety Task Force Team during their scheduled monthly meeting. In San Diego, California, volunteers conducted outreach in partnership with San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention and SAFE (Scrubs Addressing the Firearms Epidemic) at the University of California at San Diego Medical School Campus.
The mayors of six municipal governments in New Jersey released proclamations marking National Injury Prevention Day, including: Glen Ridge, Hillsborough, Millburn, Montclair, Parsippany-Troy Hills, and Verona, New Jersey. City Councilor Eric Guerra of Sacramento, California, also introduced a resolution for National Injury Prevention Day.
The following buildings will be shining a green light in partnership with Be SMART to honor National Injury Prevention Day at sundown.
- Kansas City, Missouri: Charlie’s House, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Longfellow Neighborhood Association
- Verona, New Jersey: Township of Verona Municipal Building.
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. This means storing firearms unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
Developed by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Moms Demand Action, the Be SMART program helps parents and other adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.
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 safely secure your firearms, visit the Be SMART website. Additional information about unintentional shootings is here. If you are interested in speaking with a policy or research expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.