As kids across the country are returning to school, there have been over a dozen incidents of children and teens bringing guns into learning environments. Yesterday, a student in DeKalb County, Georgia brought a gun into McNair High School. The school now no longer allows students to carry backpacks within the school campus.
Over the past few weeks, there have been at least fifteen different incidents of students bringing firearms into school in at least twelve different states, including Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Mississippi, California, Arkansas, Nevada, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee.
“Educators are being asked to add one more worry item to their long list of back-to-school concerns this year: armed students,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Not only are these instances and tragedies incredibly traumatic, they’re entirely preventable through secure storage. With more guns being sold, it’s never been more important to Be SMART.”
Research shows that the best way to protect children and teens from accessing guns is to implement secure firearm storage practices. An estimated 54 percent of gun owners don’t lock all of their guns securely and at least 4.6 million children live in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm. In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun they used from their home or the homes of friends or relatives.
Gun owners can make their homes and communities safer by storing their guns securely. This means storing firearms unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
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 your peers to be SMART