ASK family, friends, and members of your community about unlocked or loaded guns in the home to prevent family fire.
ASK (Asking Saves Kids) is a simple way to help keep kids safe and a fundamental part of our End Family Fire campaign. Parents and guardians ask all sorts of questions before they allow their children to visit other homes; they ask about pets in the house, discuss allergies and Internet access, and ask questions about supervision. As part of our End Family Fire campaign, ASK encourages parents and guardians to add one more question to this conversation: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?”
It’s a simple question, but it has the power to save a child’s life. Read about how one hunter, farmer, and father approaches this conversation to ensure that others in his community are aware of family fire and the importance of safe gun storage.
As families grow and circumstances expand, here are other questions to ASK to prevent family fire:
- Parents dropping off their kids for a playdate: “My kid is pretty curious, and our doctor recommended that I ask — is there an unlocked gun where my child will play?”
- Teens taking their first babysitting job: “Is there an unlocked and/or loaded gun in your home?”
- Young adults moving into a group home: “Does anyone own a gun? If so, how is it stored?”
- When considering the care of an elderly family member, especially those who may suffer from a form of dementia: “Do we need to rethink how we safely store the guns?”
ASK, “Is there an unlocked gun where my child will play?” before sending your child to a playdate, caretaker, or relative’s home. Have your teens ask about guns in the home before going on a babysitting job or entering a new group housing situation. And especially ask about guns in the home if you know someone is in crisis and at risk of harming themselves or others. Doing so can help prevent family fire and save lives.
A Mother's Story
I think about my life in two parts now: before the tragedy and after it.
One June day, I left work a little later than expected. This made me a few minutes late to pick up my 3-year-old son from his regular babysitter’s house outside St. Louis.
It was during those minutes that the babysitter’s 11-year-old child found a gun in a closet. Markie, my son, entered the room, surprising the boy with the gun. The gun went off. He never meant to shoot Markie.
Today, I tell all parents to ask a simple question that can help prevent unintentional shootings like the one that has changed my life:
“Is there an unlocked gun in the homes where my child plays?”
There’s no way to describe the pain of losing a child and the effects of Markie’s death – not just on my family, but also on the family of the boy who shot my son.
My hope is to prevent other families from feeling the same pain and heartache. That is why I support the Asking Saves Kids Campaign. ASK encourages parents to ask about guns in the home before sending their children over to play.
Parenting is a constant juggling act, and we can always share extra tips and information to help keep our children safe.
And while I know many parents might find it hard to start this conversation, it's a conversation that can save lives.
I encourage you to pledge to ASK, and to make sure your friends and neighbors do too.
History of ASKING SAVES KIDS
The Asking Saves Kids (ASK) campaign was launched on the National Mall on Mother's Day 2000 at the Million Mom March. For more than two decades, ASK supporters have partnered with over 400 grassroots organizations to spread its message in neighborhoods nationwide. Founded in partnership with filmmaker and activist Talmage Cooley, the ASK campaign has been a successful collaboration between Brady and the American Academy of Pediatrics, inspiring 19 million households to ask if there are guns where their children play. Brady has since expanded upon this question and created the End Family Fire program to ensure that families with firearms in the home store them locked and unloaded and, most important, revisit what constitutes safe storage as their families or household circumstances change.
The ASK Campaign was officially launched on May 14, 2000 (Mother’s Day) at the historic Million Mom March in Washington, D.C. Gun violence prevention activist Carole Price shared the message.
- ASK to End Family Fire
Why is asking important? How do you get the conversation started?
- How to Ask if Guns in Your Community Are Safely Stored
A step-by-step guide
© 2015 The ASK Campaign. All rights reserved.
The End Family Fire campaign is a part of the Brady Center's C(3) efforts.