After the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan last week, Alaska leaders and leaders across the country looked to the gun violence prevention movement to see what can be done to prevent school shootings in the future. Secure storage is one of the simplest ways for responsible gun owners and parents to prevent school shootings, gun suicides, and untentional shootings. Alaska has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country, and firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in the state, with an average of 22 firearm deaths every year. Sixty-one percent of those deaths are firearm suicides. This session, protecting Alaskan children should be the number one priority for lawmakers.
Yesterday, the Juneau Empire published a piece about the importance of secure storage and how to Be SMART and keep guns out of the hands of children. The piece featured gun owner and Moms Demand Action volunteer leader, Sally Rue, sharing the importance of responsible gun ownership in Alaska.
From the piece [emphasis added]:
“Rue said that as a gun owner who grew up in a family of hunters, she understands that guns are an essential part of life for many, especially in Alaska, where many people hunt to feed their families.
‘It’s an adult responsibility to keep kids safe from guns, not a kid’s responsibility. It’s amazing how many people have stories of when they were kids and went through parents’ bureaus and found a gun,’ she said. She noted that her family purchased a gun case to store firearms after she learned more about how easily children can get their hands on firearms
‘We are a group of volunteers committed to doing what we can to reduce gun violence and to encourage secure storage of firearms,’ she said. ‘It makes it really urgent that we educate people so our friends and neighbors who want to do the right thing know what that thing is.’
She said that the need for gun safety is ‘more urgent than ever,’ as the country moves closer to the anniversary of the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut and reels from news of another school shooting in Michigan last week.”
The full piece is available here. This session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are prioritizing passing a secure storage law to prevent school shootings, gun suicides, and unintentional shootings. Representative Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) introduced HB 203, which would require firearms to be securely stored when not in use. Representative Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) has also co-sponsored the bill. Research shows that when it comes to gun violence on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their own home, a relative’s home, or from friends. Securely storing firearms — locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition — can help prevent these shootings.
If you are interested in speaking with a volunteer or a gun violence survivor on their advocacy about secure storage this upcoming session, please don’t hesitate to reach out.