As unintentional shootings by children increased over the last year, Moms Demand Action volunteers are finding new ways to encourage secure gun storage in their communities. Colorado has been ravaged by gun violence this past year, with at least one tragic unintentional shooting in Lafayette, Co. in which a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by another teenager, in addition to the two mass shootings in Boulder and Colorado Springs. Moms Demand Action in Colorado worked with the Boulder Valley School District to get the message out about the importance of secure storage of firearms.
The result: heading into summer vacation, the Boulder Valley School District sent out an email to parents outlining the Be SMART program for gun safety and directing all Boulder Valley parents to the Be SMART website. This effort is one of many new approaches Moms Demand Action has taken this past year in partnership with schools and teachers to amplify the voices of responsible gun owners and the secure storage practices they, along with experts, recommend.
“Our volunteers worked tirelessly for over a year to bring this program into reality — their efforts will play a direct role in protecting students in the Boulder Valley School District from the threat of gun violence,” said Peggy Darrah, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “There’s no question that kids are safer when gun owners store their firearms securely. We are excited to be working alongside educators and school district officials to ensure that families in the community have better access to critical secure storage information.”
Developed by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and Moms Demand Action, 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.
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 their peers to be SMART
During the pandemic, unintentional shootings by children have increased significantly, according to data from the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the research and education arm of Everytown for Gun Safety. Research shows that to protect children and teens, gun owners should store guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. Between March and December of 2020, there was a 31 percent increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children and an 18 percent increase in unintentional gun injuries by children, compared to the same time period in 2019.