The recent Associated Press/USA Today series on unintentional shootings by children raises important questions about the gun culture we have in America—especially as it relates to how children are affected by easy access to loaded firearms.
The two pieces that ran this week were:
- Added agony: Justice is haphazard after kids’ gun deaths
- States rejecting bills intended to keep guns away from kids
Over the past four and half years, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety have spearheaded efforts to draw attention to unintentional shootings by children and the ways to address these preventable tragedies.
In 2015, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America launched the #NotAnAccident Index, a first-of-its kind tracker and interactive map based on media coverage and police reports of instances where a person, 17-years-old or younger, unintentionally fires a gun and harms him or herself, or another person. So far in 2017, there have over 100 unintentional shootings by children—an average of one every 34 hours in America.
In efforts to address unintentional shootings by children, Moms Demand Action launched Be SMART, a public education campaign asking gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings by children, suicides, and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children or teens get ahold of a gun. The campaign asks parents and caretakers to take five steps to help prevent shootings by children: Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risks of teen suicide; Tell your peers to be SMART. More information on Be SMART is available at BeSMARTforKids.org
As part of the BeSMART campaign and to promote gun safety in communities nationwide, Moms Demand Action has trained more than 900 volunteer presenters, who have participated in more than 1000 Be SMART events in 45 states and D.C. The National Parent-Teacher Association is a national Be SMART partner and chapters nationwide have developed dozens of partnerships with law enforcement, doctors’ offices and other community groups.
If you would like more information about the #NotAnAccident Index, the Be SMART program or want to get in touch with Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action or one of our local leaders, please don’t hesitate to reach out!