As American life changes in the midst of COVID-19, millions of children and teens are home from school, and at the same time, NRA fear mongering has led to an increase in gun sales, in some cases to first-time buyers. Law enforcement officers, gun safety instructors, and gun safety advocates with Moms Demand Action across the country are calling on all gun owners to take responsibility and practice secure storage to mitigate the heightened risks of unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and domestic violence.
- In Michigan, gun violence survivor and firearms instructor Jon Gold wrote an op-ed in The Detroit News, touching on the risks of gun ownership and what people can do to minimize them:
“The truth is, without proper training and storage, a gun is more likely to hurt you or someone you love than provide protection from an unknown threat.
“[R]esponsible gun owners securely store firearms by keeping them locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. Hiding a gun in a sock drawer won’t cut it. This is more important than ever if you have kids and teenagers home from school.”
- In Nevada, former police officer and gun safety instructor Ray Berni highlighted the need “to keep guns and ammunition secured and safe, especially if you have kids at home.” And gun violence survivor and Moms Demand Action volunteer Stephanie Pizzoferrato “stressed that gun owners should take all precautions. Research shows that storing weapons and ammunition separately and securing firearms with a jack or cable lock reduces the risk of accidental shootings and suicides.”
- In Minnesota, Brooklyn Park Police Deputy Chief Mark Bruley emphasized how important it is that gun owners “make sure that gun is secured; that they know how to handle it; and that they keep it away from children or people that should not have access to that gun.”
- In California, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot said that “When you have guns and children in the home and do not practice safe storage, you are increasing the risk that someone will be accidentally shot.” Elliott authored the city’s Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance, which went into effect last year and “requires San Diego gun owners to store firearms in a locked container or to secure guns with a trigger lock unless they are in the immediate control of an authorized user.”
- In Colorado, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann also promoted secure gun storage in these uncertain times, saying “As background checks for firearms increase and people stay at home, it is especially important that firearms are properly stored. Adults should assume their kids know where the guns are and reduce the chance of harm by safely storing their firearms.”
Last week, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action released guidance detailing ways that governors can reduce the risks of unintentional shootings, domestic violence, community violence, and gun suicides as gun sales spike and Americans self-quarantine at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re interested in learning more about how governors and elected leaders can help reduce the risks for increased gun violence during the pandemic or if you want to learn more about our Be SMART program and how to prevent unintentional shootings and teen suicide, please don’t hesitate to reach out.