The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
For Immediate Release: December 30, 2014
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, Jhutson [at] bradymail [dot] org
One out of three homes with children has guns, many left unlocked or loaded
WASHINGTON, DC - Our hearts are with the grieving family and friends of Veronica Rutledge, the young mother unintentionally shot and killed by her 2-year-old son on December 30, during a routine shopping trip to a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho. The death of a loved one due to unintentional gunfire is tragic, often preventable, and a grief no one should ever have to bear.
Every day as parents, we make rational choices regarding our family’s safety: we buckle our children’s seatbelts, make them wear bicycle helmets, and teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. But when it comes to gun safety, many parents do not take the same logical approach.
Many parents bring a gun into the home legally with no intent of doing harm. Many think they’re doing their family a service by offering protection. Yet these guns cause the majority of gun deaths and injuries. Tragedies could be avoided if parents would only take simple steps to ensure that these guns are not accessible to their children. If we don’t start doing something about children’s access to guns, not only are these tragedies likely to continue, so will the hundreds of suicides and unintentional shootings that take place in homes across the country each year.
A gun in the home is a significant risk factor for homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings, according to the Brady Center’s recent report “The Truth About Kids and Guns,” which shows that one out of three homes with children has guns, many left unlocked or loaded.
Brady’s report states that in Idaho, the estimated percent of loaded and unlocked household firearms among adults with a child under 18 is 5.2 percent. The report adds that in Idaho, the estimated number of children (0-17) living with unlocked and loaded firearms is 17,030.
Instead of protecting the family, studies show a firearm is much more likely to harm a family member, such as a child or teen, than to help.
This tragedy in Idaho is a reminder to all parents to keep guns locked away securely. It is also a reminder for parents to raise concerns and awareness about the dangers of unsafe access to firearms with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. We can all help ensure that children do not come across an unsecured gun by asking, “Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?” Our collective efforts with parents across the United States can help prevent future tragedies.
The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.