The number of stories where young children obtain their parents’ firearm and cause severe harm to themselves or others, whether on purpose or by accident, is far too many.
Bearing Arms has covered kids accidentally shooting themselves, kids shooting their siblings, and kids stealing firearms from their parents to commit mass shootings at their schools. We’ve also reported on how gun owners, and even police officers, have failed to practice proper gun safety in their homes or in public, or have left their firearms in unlocked cars, making themselves easy targets for robbers.
Now, a new campaign is underway to encourage parents to properly store their firearms to prevent children from finding the weapons and causing a potential tragedy.
The “End Family Fire” campaign released a powerful ad that encourages parents to know where their firearms are at all times and to ensure that it is out of the reach of children, whether they are present in the home or not.
Though the Brady Center to Combat Gun Violence, a group known for its support for gun control, is backing the campaign, the campaign itself does not appear to push a legislative agenda in its ad or on its official website, which should come as a relief to gun owners and Second Amendment supporters.
In recent weeks, cities across the country have implemented gun storage laws, mandating that gun owners lock up their firearms or face fines. As Tom has stated previously, this type of legislation punishes gun owners twice. Not only would they have their firearm taken from them, but they would then face those massive fines.
The good news is, the passage of these ordinances isn’t going unchallenged. The NRA has filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle as well as the City of Edmonds in Washington state “to invalidate the mandatory firearm storage ordinance.”
The argument against mandatory gun storage laws is that they propose a risk to gun owners if they find themselves in dangerous, life-threatening situations. People will argue that a firearm can be kept in a safe place and away from children, while still being easily accessible, so gun owners don’t have to fumble around with a gun lock and then a safe where the ammunition may be stored separately. A home invader isn’t going to wait for someone to arm themselves, so quick and easy access is imperative.
Among the recommendations the campaign makes is keeping firearms locked with a cable or trigger lock. The campaign also suggests having a gun safe, storing ammunition separately, and letting visitors know that there is a firearm in the house, primarily if those visitors have young kids. Again, an intruder intent on harming an individual isn’t going to wait for them to unlock and load their firearm before attacking them or their family.
But that doesn’t mean gun owners shouldn’t be more cautious about how they’re storing their firearms when kids are in the home. End Family Fire’s interactive website provides some startling statistics on how many children have access to firearms and how often those children injure themselves or another child. The campaign cites a study published in the Journal of Urban Health, which states 4.6 million children have access to unlocked and loaded guns. The site also says, on average, eight kids are unintentionally killed after finding an unlocked and loaded firearm every day.
What the campaign fails to understand is that locking up your firearm isn’t the only way to prevent these tragedies. As Bearing Arms has discussed before, education is a big part of reducing firearm accidents–and no, just telling your kids the firearm isn’t a toy that shouldn’t be touched isn’t enough.
You can watch the full campaign ad below.