The Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Jefferson County Board of Education’s unanimous resolution to include Be SMART secure firearm storage information in the Student Behavior and Intervention Handbook — which will be distributed to parents. The increase in firearms found on Jackson County Public School grounds resulted in swift action from gun safety advocates to urge members of the school board to pass this life saving resolution. The Jefferson County Public Schools resolution marks an increase in the national audience to over 8.6 million who are impacted by secure storage resolutions.
“The most effective way to prevent kids from accessing guns is to make sure that adults securely store their firearms,” said Kristal Smith, a volunteer with the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action and Jefferson County Public School parent. “We are proud that the school board unanimously recognized the importance of this preventive measure and we will work alongside our leaders to protect our communities from gun violence.”
Louisville communities have seen a startling increase in youth impacted by gun violence in the past several weeks, reflective of a concerning national trend of unintentional shootings by children and teens. As recently as last Friday, a loaded firearm was brought to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, alarming parents, teachers and students. With gun safety advocates in Kentucky continuing to apply pressure on the state legislature, educational programs like Be SMART are gaining traction amongst gun owners and non-gun owners alike as research driven, common-sense solutions that save lives.
Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America. Roughly 4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm, and every year, approximately 350 children gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. Furthermore, research shows that in acts of targeted school violence, three-quarters of school shooters acquired their firearm from the home of a parent or close relative. Now more than ever, it is critical that parents and communities know how the practice of storing firearms unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition can save lives.
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