Honor with action.
It’s a term we use a great deal in the world of gun violence prevention because it really is why we do what we do. We can’t bring back the thousands of lives lost, but we can work like hell to make sure it stops happening.
So this week, we honor with action the youngest souls lost in a mass shooting, the six and seven-year-old children who six years ago today went to elementary school and never came home. Their families were preparing for the holidays and choosing outfits for photos. I’ve often wondered how many children were buried in those same outfits? Six adults also lost their lives, almost 700 children lost their trust and innocence, and America also should have lost something that day - our ability to stick our heads in the sand about our easy access to guns.
But here we are, 6 years after Sandy Hook and has anything changed? Some states have enacted Extreme Risk Protection laws which allow families to petition the courts and temporarily remove guns from the home if a person is deemed at risk of harming themselves or others. These common sense laws are what keep a temporary moment of crisis from becoming a permanent tragedy. We need these on the national level, along with the funding to ensure those that need them, know how to take advantage of their life saving potential.
With gun ownership comes responsibility and that responsibility begins at home - with safe gun storage. 4.6 million American children live in homes with guns and 1 in 5 of those children indicated that they have touched these weapons without their caregiver’s knowledge. 51% of suicides are by firearm and 60% of all gun deaths are suicide. And, were you aware that 75% of school shootings start with kids having access to guns at home? This year Brady launched the End Family Fire campaign, created to stop the eight unintentional deaths and injuries that occur every day due to improperly stored or misused guns in the home. Safe storage will not only save those eight, but it will also go a long way in keeping those guns from the hands of school shooters. Again, we need to keep guns out of the hands of those in crisis.
So today, as we reflect on the massacre that might have been avoided with rigorous action after the wake up call that was Columbine, we all need to honor with action and here are some suggestions.
- Are you a gun owner? Is your weapon securely stored and unloaded? Is the ammunition separately and securely stored as well? Have this conversation tonight.
- How do your elected officials stand on gun violence prevention? If you don’t know, find out, and demand that they make gun violence prevention a top legislative priority.
- Before your child goes on a playdate, ask if there are guns in the home and if they’re safely stored.
- Stay up to date with the latest information about our gun violence epidemic and how you can support important legislation.
Let’s all pledge to honor the victims and survivors of Sandy Hook with action.