Today, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding the Anne Arundel County Health Department for launching a pilot program to prevent firearm suicide and provide information on utilizing Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Extreme Risk Protection Orders (sometimes known as “Red Flag” laws), empower loved ones or law enforcement to seek a civil order to temporarily prevent someone from accessing firearms if they are displaying warning signs that they may be a danger to themself or others.
“We are proud that the Anne Arundel County Health Department is taking proactive life-saving measures to ensure that our communities have resources to prevent gun-suicide,” said Laura Morris, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We all have a role to play in ending gun violence. Ensuring guns are securely stored and Extreme Risk Protection Orders can be the difference between a bad day and a tragic act of gun violence. We look forward to continuing to work with our lawmakers at the local and statewide level to protect our communities.”
Last month, Everytown Law announced a win for gun safety in the courts when the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland upheld an Anne Arundel County ordinance which requires gun stores in the county to give customers information on suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and mental health resources when they purchase a firearm or ammunition. The challenge was brought by the gun rights organization Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. and four gun retailers in Anne Arundel County that contended the ordinance violated their First Amendment rights. The court ruled against them, recognizing that “access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide” and that the County could therefore require gun stores to distribute the pamphlets as a measure that is “reasonably related to the County’s interest in preventing suicide and violence.”
Firearm injuries are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Maryland. Researchers estimate that roughly 30 million American children live in homes with firearms—up seven million since 2015. Not all of these firearms are stored securely: approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one loaded and unlocked gun. By providing secure gun storage education in our communities, Moms Demand Action volunteers and the Anne Arundel County Health Department help adults learn about the simple steps that everyone — gun owners and non-gun owners alike — can take to prevent tragedy.