Millions of American homes with children have loaded and unsecured firearms! That’s a recipe for disaster.
Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded, and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence. A significant portion of these deaths involve the unintentional discharge of a firearm.
In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun from their home or the homes of friends or relatives.
A trigger lock or gun safe makes it impossible for a gun to be fired. These relatively inexpensive devices have already saved countless lives, and ensuring their use is key to combatting America’s gun violence crisis.
Children aren’t the only ones harmed by unsecured guns. Newport News elementary school teacher Abby Zwerner (pictured left) was shot by a 6-year-old student who brought an unsecured gun with him to school from his home.
The gun was fired during a time when she was instructing the class. Her life was likely saved by her holding up her hand in an attempt to shield her from the bullet. Newport News police chief Steve Drew has said Ms Zwerner saved lives by ushering her students out of the class after being shot through the hand and in the chest.
We can take action in our own lives to buy gun locks and safes that are easy and quick to open by the gun owner in a crisis.
We can also pass laws, such as the firearms storage responsibility laws that were introduced but failed in the 2023 Virginia legislative session (including SB1139 and HB2350) and Ethan’s Law.
Unintended gun firings can lead to heartbreaking deaths and injuries. Mike and Kristin Song live in Connecticut. They had three children. One day their 15-year-old son, Ethan, visited a friend to hang out at his home in their neighborhood. He never returned. A bullet in a gun that was improperly stored took his life. Mike and Kristin were devastated for themselves and their two other children. Yet, they turned that trauma into action. They worked tirelessly to pass Ethan’s Law in Connecticut to address accountability for those who don’t properly store guns in their homes and they are now working to pass similar legislation in other states and nationally. This is vital work.
Together we will prevent gun tragedies.
To learn more and/or support our public awareness campaign, donate and/or contact Safer Country Executive Director Paul Friedman at [email protected].