As we all join the Stockinger family in mourning the loss of Greydun to an unintentional shooting, I am reminded that easy access to unsecured firearms is a deciding factor in a majority of unintentional child gun deaths and these tragedies are entirely preventable. Far too often I hear stories about loaded pistols stored under pillows and around the house, when I’m talking to adults about Be SMART, a child gun access prevention program developed by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Be SMART is a simple framework to help adults protect kids from gun violence with simple, easy to remember behaviors: Securely store your guns in homes, vehicles and garages; Model responsible behaviors around guns; Ask about unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the risk of teen suicide—an unsecured gun is a risk for teen suicide; and Tell your friends and family how important it is to always secure ones guns whether they have kids or not.
Seventy percent of kids know where their parents store their guns and 36% of those kids reported handling the guns without their parents’ knowledge according to this Harvard study. It is up to adults to secure guns and not just simply depend on teaching kids not to touch unsecured guns. Kids are curious, and too many innocent lives have been lost already.
Together we must be SMART to keep kids safe. To learn more about the program, visit besmartforkids.org or watch for a presentation near you in Bozeman, Missoula or Helena. Never hesitate to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or text ‘MT’ to 741-741 if you are ever concerned about a loved one.