CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Saturday, June 27th, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, will address the 2015 National PTA Convention & Expo in Charlotte about gun violence prevention efforts and the Be SMART program, a new public education campaign asking gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children or teens get ahold of a gun. The National PTA Convention & Expo brings together more than 1,000 PTA members, leaders and partners from across the country to discuss key issues impacting children, families, schools and communities.
National PTA advocates for restricting access to guns from people who may endanger public safety and focuses on ways to prevent and eliminate gun violence and protect all children and youth.
“Moms Demand Action is honored to have the chance to address the National PTA and its members, leaders, and partners from across the country about what we can all do to help reduce the epidemic of gun violence in America,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Just like National PTA, Moms Demand Action is dedicated to protecting our children and youth from gun violence. With our recently launched Be SMART program, Moms in chapters from coast to coast are educating their communities about how we can all work together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings that occur when children access unsecure guns – already 122 this year alone. We look forward to continuing to work with National PTA to make our schools and our communities safer.
“Like the PTA, we believe the onus for gun safety must always be on adults,” Watts said. “Children cannot and should not be trusted to know what to do if they come across a loaded firearm.”
Two million children live in homes with unsecured guns. The Be SMART campaign emphasizes that more than two-thirds of unintentional child shootings could be avoided if adult gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them.
As part of the weekend’s events, volunteers with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action will be staffing a Be SMART booth as well as conducting a 15-minute session on the Be SMART campaign at the Expo Demo Stage on at 12:50 p.m. today.
The Be SMART campaign asks parents and caretakers to take five steps to help prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to be SMART. More information on Be SMART is available at BeSMARTforKids.org.