ASK DAY IS JUNE 21 — THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER
In the United States, 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun. Every year thousands of kids are injured or killed as a result. June 21 marks the first day of summer, a time when many children are out of school, spending more time at home and at the homes of others. Parents ask all types of questions before their children visit other homes. ASK Day is when we remind parents, guardians, and caretakers to add one more question, ask: “Is there a gun in the home where my child will play?”
It's a simple question, but it could save a life.
Asking about guns in the home is an important step to prevent family fire. Family fire is a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home that results in death or injury. These tragedies are preventable. Parents and caregivers can make a difference by asking this vital question and encouraging others to do the same.
EASY WAYS YOU CAN ASK ABOUT SAFE GUN STORAGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
SHARE ON SOCIAL
Help spread awareness of ASK Day and the importance of safe gun storage. Together, we can normalize conversations about the risk of improperly stored guns in the home to keep kids safe and end family fire!
Sample Social Posts
Today is #ASKDay — because 𝐀sking 𝐒aves 𝐊ids.
Always ask: Is there a gun in the home where my child will play?
This is a lifesaving question. Learn more about safe firearm storage at endfamilyfire.org. #EndFamilyFire @EndFamilyFire (Click to Tweet)
This Monday, June 21, is #ASKDay! It's the first day of summer, when kids are often outside the homes and with less supervision. If your child is going on a playdate, ASK if there’s a gun in the home. #EndFamilyFire (Click to Tweet)
It's #ASKDay! The first day of summer is when we remind adults to ask, "Is there a gun in your house?" before children visit or play at other homes.
It’s a simple question, but it has the power to save a life. Learn more at endfamilyfire.org. #EndFamilyFire (Click to Tweet)
Every day, 8 children and teens are unintentionally injured or killed with an improperly stored gun. These tragedies — known as “family fire” — are preventable. #ASKDay #EndFamilyFire @bradybuzz @EndFamilyFire bit.ly/FamilyFire (Click to Tweet)
Just as you'd ask about allergies, supervision and other safety issues before your child visits another home, add one more important question: "Is there a gun in your house? #ASKDay #EndFamilyFire @bradybuzz (Click to Tweet)
Safe, secure firearm storage:
✔️Locked in a safe
✔️Stored separately from ammunition
Visit endfamilyfire.org to learn more about #safestorage. #ASKDay #EndFamilyFire @EndFamilyFire (Click to Tweet)
#AskDay #EndFamilyFire #SafeStorage
Accounts to tag
Why I ASK
Download the poster below and customize with a message of why you ask. Take a photo with your sign and share it on social media.
WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
A great way to spread the ASK message is through your local newspaper. Many local and regional news outlets regularly accept letter to the editors (LTEs) and opinion pieces. Use the tips below and the sample letter in this kit to help write an LTE spreading the ASK message.
Letter to the Editor (LTE) Placement Tips:
- Find details on how to submit an LTE on an outlet’s website. Example here.
- When possible, tie your letter to a recent news article or other letter.
- Customize your LTE by including a personal story or experience.
LTEs are normally 150-200 words in length.
Incorporate Key Facts and Talking Points:
- 4.6 million children live in homes with access to an unlocked or unsupervised gun
- Among children, 89% of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home.
- Keeping guns locked and unloaded reduces the risk of unintentional shooting deaths and gun suicides among youth by 73%
- Launched in 2000 at the Million Mom March, The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign is now a marquee component of Brady's End Family Fire program. Developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ASK Campaign is a nationwide effort to educate parents about the significant risks of children having access to guns in the home.
- ASK Day correlates with the start of summer when more kids are out of school and visiting other homes.
- Asking about guns in the home and volunteering information about how your guns are stored, helps create dialogue and trust to ensure that children are safe from unintentional shootings, firearm suicide, and other incidents of family fire, or firearm misuse.
- Access to guns in the home increases the risks of suicide by 300%.
- 76% of school shootings are facilitated by kids having access to unsecured and/or unsupervised guns at home.
GET A PROCLAMATION
A proclamation is an official recognition by a governing body, including a community board, school board, or government official. Proclamations often involve “naming” a day or period of time in recognition – in this case ASK Day.
Having your local school board, neighborhood board, city council, state assembly, or governor proclaim June 21st as ASK Day is an important way to prevent gun-related tragedies and promote safe firearm storage in your community. Be sure to start early! Proclamations need to be internally reviewed, so start the process at least 6 WEEKS before ASK Day.
What You'll Need:
- A draft text of the proclamation (download below)
- A cover letter describing why you are requesting the proclamation, the date needed, purpose, and importance (download below)
- Your contact information, including name, phone number, and email address
*Many local government offices have specific formats they require for proclamations. Check your local government office’s website before submitting yours.
Steps to Getting a Proclamation:
- Reach out to your local school board or government office and ask to speak to someone about proclamations. Find out how long the application process takes, any requirements like formatting or word count, and where to send the application. Find your local government’s information here.
- Complete your application. Personalize the cover letter and proclamation text to include information relevant to your state or local community. You may want to include a relevant local story where appropriate.
- Send your application. Submit your cover letter and proclamation along with any specific information required. Follow up as needed.
Making the Most of Your ASK Day Proclamation
- Host an event on or before ASK Day. Present the proclamation at a press conference or related event. Invite an official to present the proclamation and invite other community members to speak, including parents, youth, and survivors of gun violence. Be sure to invite the press!
- Submit an op-ed or a letter to the editor to your local paper. Write to your local paper to thank your local school board or government official and share news of the formal proclamation and its role in promoting safe storage.
- Engage on social media. Use social media to spread the message of the proclamation to a wider audience and thank those who issued the proclamation.
- Renew your proclamation every year. Remember that most, if not all governing bodies, will only issue proclamations for the current year. Term limits and elections will also place new leaders in local government positions; therefore, you will want to obtain a proclamation each year. Remember to add it to your calendar for next year!
HOST OR ATTEND AN EVENT
Spread the ASK message by hosting an event in your community. Engage diverse groups such as pediatricians, public health organizations, education associations, and others who share the goal of keeping kids safe. Reach out to reporters from TV, print, radio, and online outlets. Publicize your event on social media.
Contact Brady's organizing team at [email protected] for assistance with your event or to list your event on Mobilize.
TIPS FOR STARTING A CONVERSATION
Here are some tips to help you start the ASK conversation about safe firearm storage.
1. Assume that guns are a part of everyone’s life. When bringing your child to another home, ask how their guns are stored, rather than whether or not they have them. Families may respond that they don’t own guns, but, if they do, your question can open the conversation into a larger discussion about the family’s storage practices without making them feel potentially stigmatized for their decision to own firearms.
2. Don't be confrontational. Present information in a respectful manner, emphasizing your concern for your child's safety. Accusing someone of not being responsible could end an important conversation about safe gun storage that we know can save lives. Make sure to come to the conversation with curiosity to learn and offer solutions rather than judgment.
3. Do your research and use the facts. Every day, eight children and teens are unintentionally injured or killed due to an unlocked or unsupervised gun in the home. Most gun owners agree that firearm safety is a critical part of gun ownership. The differences often come down to language and the way we frame these important conversations. Be culturally aware of who you are speaking to and learn how safety is discussed in other communities.
4. Focus on success stories. Kids are curious and get into everything. Be sure to commend gun-owning families for taking the necessary steps to ensure child safety and continue to have discussions as children age. If we are to keep our kids safe from gun injury, all firearms must be locked, unloaded, and with ammunition stored separately. A simple gun lock that may have prevented a toddler’s access to guns will not necessarily prevent a teenager’s.
5. Ask from a place of honesty and respect. These conversations will be most worthwhile when each person is engaged and genuinely willing to listen to one another. We all have a vested interest in protecting our children, but we need to meet each other where we are at. When engaging in conversations about safe gun storage with family and friends, set the tone. Honesty and respect can help to prevent family fire.
ENGAGE PARENTS, GUARDIANS, & EDUCATORS
Engage parents, guardians, caretakers, and educators in conversations about safe firearm storage and the importance of ASKing. Use our template email below to aid in your discussion.
DOWNLOAD ASK DAY MATERIALS
WHY ASKING MATTERS
Even if children have been exposed to firearms from a young age, it is still essential to always store your guns locked, unloaded, and separately from ammunition.
- 1 in 3 children live in a home with at least one firearm.
- 4.6 million kids live in a home with an unlocked, loaded gun.
- 8 kids a day are unintentionally killed or injured by family fire.
- 89% of unintentional child gun deaths occur at home.
- 76% of school shootings are facilitated by kids having access to a gun from the home of a parent or close relative.
- 39% of parents mistakenly believe their child does not know where their firearm is stored.
- 33% of gun-owning parents who thought their child could not access a household firearm had a child who reported they could.
- In 75% of youth firearm suicides for which the gun storage method could be identified, the gun was stored loaded and unlocked.
- Locking all household firearms could reduce firearm suicide and unintentional firearm fatalities among youth by up to 32%.