Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Demand firearms be stored securely to keep children and teens safe
Tragic firearm accidents among children and teens are all too common in the United States. They can result in injury, livelong disability, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 3,000 children and teens die from firearm injuries every year. That means that every 30 minutes, a child or teen dies or is injured from a gun. A recent study showed that 89 percent of unintentional shooting deaths among children happen at home. Despite these shocking numbers, nationwide safe-storage laws for firearms do not exist.
In forty-three percent of U.S. households that have both children under 18 and at least one firearm, that firearm is usually unlocked. When children and teens have uninhibited access to firearms, their risk of suicide and injury increases substantially. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among American youth between ages 10 and 24 and the most common means of suicide is by gun. An overwhelming 90 percent of suicide attempts involving firearms end in death.
Extensive lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stemmed any safe storage progress. The association’s main argument is that locked guns are more difficult to access and use in the event of a home invasion, although there is no data to suggest that this is the case.
Safe-storage laws do not impede on the right of a gun owner to own and keep a firearm within the vicinity of children. Rather, such a law would ensure that the most vulnerable amongst us—and those least capable of following firearm safety guidelines—remain safe. After all, youths under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to own a gun. Why, then, are they allowed access to a firearm? Sign this petition urging legislation requiring that firearms be stored safely to help keep gun owners and their children safe.
Dear President Obama,
Far too many children and teens have unimpeded access to their parents’ guns. When household firearms are kept unlocked, children and teens may accidentally, or purposefully, injure themselves and others, resulting in injury and even death. It’s time for the government to insist that firearms must be stored safety and securely in all households with children under the age of 18.
Laws surrounding the safe storage of firearms are not limiting owners’ right to bear arms, and there is no evidence to suggest that keeping firearms locked in any way impedes owners’ ability to use them in case of a home invasion. The evidence is clear and overwhelming surrounding household firearms: Children and teens suffer unduly from their presence and accessibility.
I urge you to enact safe-storage laws to keep Americans safe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lisa Roe via Flickr