The Alaska chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement celebrating the Anchorage School Board’s vote to pass a resolution which commits the district to sending home Be SMART information on the importance of securely storing firearms in the student handbook and in a letter to parents and caretakers. The resolution was championed by Moms Demand Action volunteers who dedicated countless hours to educating and organizing.
The resolution formalizes the School Board’s commitment to keeping students safe from gun violence. The decision is the latest in a string of recent efforts by school districts across the country to educate parents and caretakers about the importance of secure firearm storage.
“The passing of a secure firearm storage resolution is a huge victory for students, schools, and the Anchorage community,” said Rochelle Parker, a volunteer with the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action, “We are proud that our schools are prioritizing student and school safety. This decision will save lives, and we hope other school districts in Alaska will follow suit.”
The passing of the resolution is a huge step forward for the gun violence prevention movement in Alaska. Anchorage school district is the largest district in the state, and now, almost a third of students will go to school requiring secure gun storage information to be shared with parents and caretakers.
Secure firearm storage in homes is one of the most effective tools to keep children and teens safe from gun violence. According to research, up to 76% of school shooters obtain their gun from their home or the home of relatives. In addition, 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. 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.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund’s Be SMART program helps to educate communities across the country about the importance of secure firearm storage. Over the past three years, volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, have impacted millions of students by urging school boards across the country to educate parents and caretakers about the critical importance of responsible gun ownership and secure firearm storage. This work is part of Everytown’s comprehensive approach to keeping schools safe from all forms of gun violence.
Alaska has the 3rd-highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the US, and the highest rate of gun suicide deaths among young people. In an average year, 173 people die by guns, and 68% of those gun deaths are by firearm suicide. Gun violence costs Alaska $2.5 billion each year, of which $44.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about Alaska’s gun laws are available here.
Anchorage is the latest municipality in a conservative state to have its school board adopt a secure storage resolution. Just this week, Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas both passed secure storage resolutions. States like Ohio, Florida, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, and South Carolina have also taken similar measures. This pattern of action in states across ideological lines indicate that gun violence prevention measures are a priority for parents in America.
More information on the role that secure storage can play in helping prevent gun violence is available here.