Be SMART – Gun Safety to Reduce Child Gun Deaths

As Pinehurst representative on the SPD North Precinct Advisory Council, I bring citizen concerns to the police, and pass information from SPD back to neighbors. This month the guest speaker brought a particularly important topic. I want to call it out, more than just hoping you read the NPAC minutes (I often wonder if anyone reads them!)

Be SMART is a campaign by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to reduce child gun deaths. See its website: It advocates responsible gun ownership. It puts politics aside, and laws aside – in other words it does NOT weigh in on the pros and cons of gun control. It just wants to teach safe storage of firearms. The premise is that everyone agrees that:

– We all want kids to grow up safe
– We each have the right to decide whether to keep guns in our homes
– It is our responsibility to prevent kid gun deaths

Every year almost 300 kids 17 and under in the U.S. gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. U.S. kids are 11 times more likely to die by shooting than in the other developed countries. An average of 1300 lives a year of those 17 or under die by gun violence. Almost 500 kids a year die by suicide via guns.

SMART is an acronym for steps you can take to make kids safe from guns –

S = Secure all guns in your home and vehicles. They should be locked, unloaded and stored separately from ammunition. Hiding a gun is not secure; curious kids can find them – 70% of kids under 10 know where their parents store their guns. The majority of school shootings use guns from the home. 4.6 million kids live in homes with guns loaded & unlocked.

M = Model responsible behavior around guns. Be sure all adults in the home are trained in gun use. Model safe handling, such as pointing guns in a safe direction, always treat them as loaded, don’t rely on the gun’s safety lock.

A = Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes your kids go to. Talk to family and caregivers. Volunteer information about guns in your home.

R = Recognize the risks of teen suicide. Suicide is an impulsive act & unlikely to be tried again. Gun suicide attempts result in death 85% of the time.Unsecured guns in the home are a risk factor for suicide. Signs of risk are changes in mood or behavior, talking about wanting to kill oneself, and feeling helpless. The national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

T = Tell your peers to be SMART. Talk to family, friends, and neighbors about gun safety. Volunteer to be a BeSMART presenter. Since May 2005 over 2000 volunteers have trained to present the program.

King County has a Lok-It-Up website about safe gun storage here.

Seattle’s responsible storage legislation will go into effect February 13, 2019. See announcement.

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