By Sophia Young
As the holiday season approaches and our homes begin to fill with family and friends, there's something that gun owners and non-gun owners alike can address to keep our homes safe — ensuring gun storage!
Every day, eight children and teens are injured or killed as a result of family fire, or a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home. We know that 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun, and 75 percent of kids know where that gun is stored in their home. More than half of all U.S. gun owners do not report storing all of their guns safely.
What we also know? Tragedies stemming from family fire are entirely preventable. Research shows that if parents kept the guns in their homes locked, several hundred child and adolescent deaths a year could be prevented. Below are some tips for preparing your home this holiday season to help put an end to family fire!
Always practice safe storage, especially with guests in town
While it’s always important to properly store your firearms, it becomes even more essential when you’re getting ready to host a large group of people. Holidays also tend to bring more children into the home — and we all know kids are curious, and they find everything! Be sure to store your guns —
- unloaded; and
- separate from ammunition.
This way, any firearms will be inaccessible to any little ones who may be roaming around. From gun locks to safes, there’s a range of effective solutions best suited for both the gun and your home.
Don’t be afraid to remind your loved ones to practice safe storage as well
You may be spending the holidays at a family member or friend’s house. It’s important to ask about access to unlocked and/or loaded guns in the house. Talking about gun safety with loved ones has the power to prevent incidents of family fire and save lives.
While conversations around gun safety can sometimes take a political and divisive turn, they don’t have to! Consider beginning the conversation by asking your loved ones what storage methods they practice. Knowing that all the firearms in the house are stored safely will ease your mind, allowing you and your family members to sit back and enjoy the holiday season together.
This holiday season, ask "is there an unlocked gun in your home?" and help normalize the question. Make sure all guns are safely stored, unloaded and locked. Asking the question will spark a conversation and could save lives, including your child’s.
Continue the conversation after the holidays
Don't just ask about safe storage today. Ask tomorrow, too. And the next day! Families grow, people travel, and circumstances change. Ensuring safe storage and keeping our homes and families safe is a constant check-in process. Help put an end to family fire by educating friends, family, and members of your community on responsible gun ownership. Learn more tips from our End Family Fire program.