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Florida Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Applaud Duval County School Board For Passing Secure Firearm Storage Policy

January 11, 2022

Duval County Public Schools Will Work With Local Law Enforcement Agencies, Health Agencies and Nonprofits to Promote Secure Firearm Storage Practices

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Have Urged School Boards Across the Country, Covering More Than 2 Million Students, to Pass Resolutions Requiring Schools to Educate Parents About Secure Firearm Storage 

An Estimated 5.4 Million Children in the U.S. Live in Homes With At Least One Unlocked and Loaded Gungun; Up to 80% of School Shooters under the Age of 18 Obtain Their Gun From the Home

JACKSONVILLE — The Florida chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements applauding the Duval County School Board for passing a resolution promoting the secure storage of firearms. The resolution commits the Board and Superintendent to inform parents and guardians about the importance of secure firearm storage and is the first of its kind in the state. The announcement follows a year of record gunfire on school grounds.

“By passing this resolution, officials in Duval County have demonstrated their commitment to keeping our kids safe from unsecured firearms,” said Katie Hathaway, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Time and time again, we’ve seen the tragedy that can ensue when kids get their hands on unsecured weapons. Promoting secure storage is critical to keeping children safe from gun violence in and out of school, and we encourage leaders across Florida to follow suit.”

“Because of weak firearm laws, students like me have been forced to grow up living in fear of gun violence,” said Isabella Ensign, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action. “We won’t stop fighting until future generations can go to school without that fear. Resolutions like this one can help keep us safer, and we need every county across the state to step up and do the same.”

This school year has seen an unprecedented surge in gunfire on school grounds; between August 1 and November 30 this year, there have been 104 instances of gunfire on school grounds, killing 20 and wounding 79 — the most instances and people shot in that period since Everytown started tracking gunfire on school grounds in 2013. Secure firearm storage in the home is one of the most effective tools to prevent gun violence in schools. According to research from the U.S. Secret Service, up to 76% of school shooters obtain their gun from their home or the home of relatives. More information about the role that secure storage can play in preventing school shooting tragedies is available here

In addition to preventing gun violence on school grounds, research shows that secure firearm storage also plays a vital role in reducing unintentional shootings and gun suicide. Every year, hundreds of American children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. Between March and December of 2020, there was a 31 percent increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children of themselves and others, compared to the same time period in 2019. Over the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among young people has increased faster than in any other age group, and today, it’s at a near all-time high. By preventing children and teens from accessing weapons in the first place, secure firearm storage can help reduce the risk of gun violence in and out of schools. 

Over the past two years, volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, have successfully urged school boards across the country, covering more than 2 million students, to enact such notification policies, including school districts in Vermont, Texas, California, Arizona, Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia and Colorado. This work is part of Everytown’s comprehensive approach to keeping schools safe from all forms of gun violence.

Moms Demand Action volunteers have long advocated for secure firearm storage. In 2015, Moms Demand Action launched the Be SMART campaign to raise awareness that responsible gun storage — storing guns unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition — can save children’s lives. Today, there are thousands of Be SMART volunteers active across all 50 states.

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