Law Enforcement Leaders in Major Cities – Including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Baton Rouge, Nashville, and More – to Begin Distribution of Secure Storage Information and Gun Locks to Community Members
Firearms are the Leading Cause of Death for Children and Teens in the U.S.; Secure Firearm Storage Can Help Prevent Senseless Gun Injuries and Deaths
NEW YORK — Today, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) announced a first of its kind partnership with Be SMART, a program of the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, that educates parents and other adults about the importance of secure firearm storage. The partnership, which encourages responsible gun ownership and safety practices, launches with six police chiefs and sheriffs in cities across the country agreeing to distribute secure firearm storage information and gun locks to local residents.
“I know firsthand how tragedy can strike when guns aren’t properly stored, and no other parent or loved one should have to endure the same pain and heartbreak that I have,” said Julvonnia McDowell, a Be SMART volunteer whose 14-year-old son, JaJuan, was unintentionally shot and killed by another teen playing with an unsecured gun in 2016. “ This partnership is a huge step towards preventing gun violence, and we’re thrilled to work with NOBLE members to help inform communities about the dangers of unsecured firearms and the critical importance of secure storage.”
“This is an issue we all have a stake in, and the work we’ll do together over the years will be critical to public safety,” said Keenon James, Senior Director of the Everytown for Gun Safety Survivor Network and former executive of NOBLE. “As a gun violence survivor and former executive leader at NOBLE, I know how complicated and far reaching the consequences of an unsecured firearm can be. I’m proud to work with NOBLE and address secure storage from several critical angles. We are working to improve the safety of children, communities, and gun owners alike. We understand the breadth of potential impacts and our collective responsibility to prevent senseless harm.”
“Nearly a third of homes in this country have guns – and approximately 4.6 million children live in homes with guns that are unsecured, exponentially increasing the chance for harm to themselves or others. But these senseless gun deaths and injuries can be 100 percent preventable with proper storage, security measures and collaboration among law enforcement, community organizations, businesses, elected officials and residents,” says NOBLE National President Brenda Goss Andrews. “This is a national emergency, so the partnership with Be SMART comes at an opportune time for us to work together to provide widespread education and empower communities to act.”
So far, six law enforcement leaders — all NOBLE members — have committed to the partnership. Initial members of the partnership include: Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington, Baton Rouge Chief of Police Murphy Paul, Nashville Chief of Police John Drake, and New Orleans Superintendent of Police Shaun D. Ferguson.
Over the next six months, patrol officers and deputies will be handing out palm cards featuring information about secure firearm storage information during routine contacts with members of the public. Partnership participants will also work with Be SMART and Moms Demand Action volunteers to host community events to distribute secure storage information and gun locks.
This historic partnership builds on Everytown and Moms Demand Action efforts across the country to educate communities about the critical importance of secure firearm storage. Over the past few years, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have successfully urged school boards to enact secure storage notification policies, including school districts in Vermont, Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, and Colorado.
Firearm injuries are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S, with Black children being three times more likely to die by unintentional shootings than their white peers. Throughout the U.S., an estimated 13 million households with children under the age of 18 contain at least one gun. Not all of these firearms are stored securely: approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun that is stored, while loaded and unlocked. An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t lock all of their guns securely. Gun owners can make their families, homes, and communities safer by storing their guns securely — unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
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, 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 secure firearm storage and the most effective ways to protect children from unsecured firearms, visit BeSMARTforkids.org/noble. Additional information about unintentional shootings by children can be found here, facts and resources about child gun suicide can be found here, and information about gunfire on school grounds can be found here.
About Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (the “Everytown Support Fund”) is the education, research and litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly six million supporters. The Everytown Support Fund seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and help to reduce it by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, communicating this knowledge to the American public, and advancing gun safety and gun violence prevention in communities and the courts. Learn more at www.everytownsupportfund.org.
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county, and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit www.NOBLENational.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter.