The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to an unintentional shooting this weekend in Houston involving a three-year-old and her four-year-old sister who was shot and killed.
“We hear about these tragedies with heartbreaking regularity. Even still, they are never short of devastating” said Susan Pollard, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We desperately need to realize that the solutions to these completely preventable shootings are right in front of us. As adults, we bear the responsibility to keep our children safe. That means having conversations with friends and family asking if they own guns, and how they are stored. Our children’s lives are literally at stake.”
According to a CBS report, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was quoted saying, “We continue to send the message that this is very preventable. You’ve got to be sure you’re being a responsible gun owner, securing your weapons in a safe place. It’s got to be more than just telling young kids not to touch the weapons. You know, we’ve got to do a little more. We see far too many tragic situations like this unfold.”
Throughout the US, an estimated 13 million households with children under the age of 18 contain at least one gun. Not all of these firearms are stored securely: approximately 4.6 million children live in a household with at least one gun that is stored, while loaded and unlocked. Even toddlers are capable of finding unsecured guns at home, and they are strong enough to pull the trigger. This year, Everytown for Gun Safety’s #NotAnAccident Index has tracked at least 58 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 22 deaths and 37 injuries nationally.
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, youth suicide, and gunfire on school grounds.
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
For more information on secure firearm storage and the most effective ways to protect children from unsecured firearms, visit BeSMARTforkids.org. Additional information about unintentional shootings by children can be found here, facts and resources about child gun suicide can be found here, and information about gunfire on school grounds can be found here.