To the Editor:
We’ve all seen the tragic headlines, including many here in South Carolina – children find their parents’ unsecured firearms and accidentally discharge them, injuring or killing themselves, their siblings, or their friends. Approximately 4.6 million American children live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked, and every year, 350 children ages 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else.
We have the power to prevent tragedies like these from happening. The Be SMART campaign seeks to help parents and other adults take responsible action to help prevent gun injuries and deaths.
Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; store your firearms unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition.
Model responsible behavior around guns. It’s the adult’s responsibility to keep children safe. Always assume that curious kids may find and touch an unsecured gun, even if they’ve been told not to. Be sure your firearm is safely secured so that children cannot access it.
Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes. Before a playdate, ask the other child’s parent if they own firearms, and if so, whether they are securely stored in a locked gun safe.
Recognize the role of guns in suicide: Every year, nearly 700 children 17 and under die by suicide with a gun. Locking your firearm in a gun safe is a simple way to prevent potential tragedy.
Tell your friends to Be SMART and visit besmartforkids.org.
Beaufort County Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America