TODAY 'ASK DAY' AIMS TO PREVENT UNINTENTIONAL SHOOTINGS | Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

TODAY 'ASK DAY' AIMS TO PREVENT UNINTENTIONAL SHOOTINGS

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brendan Kelly, bkelly@bradymail.org
Phone: 724-612-3453

TODAY 'ASK DAY' AIMS TO PREVENT UNINTENTIONAL SHOOTINGS

Brady Center, American Academy of Pediatrics, National PTA emphasize dangers of unsecured guns in the home on June 21

New research shows shootings kill or injure 19 or more children per day

Brady Center legal victory in February allows docs once again to ask patients about guns

WASHINGTON - The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Parent-Teacher Association, and other partner organizations, recognize today as ASK Day. The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign reminds parents and caregivers of the importance of asking if there are unlocked guns in the homes where their children visit and play.

A new study published in Pediatrics this week shows that between 2002 and 2014 shootings kill or injury more than 19 children per day, making guns the third leading cause of death overall among U.S. children ages 1-17 years, and the second leading cause of injury-related death (behind only car crashes).

ASK Day 2017, the official start of summer, emphasizes the power and responsibility pediatricians, nurses, and other medical and public health officials have to ask about gun ownership and gun safety as part of routine healthcare conversations with parents and families. For 15 years, the ASK Campaign has partnered with more than 400 grassroots organizations to spread its message in neighborhoods and exam rooms nationwide.

The dangers of an unsecured gun in any home are real:

  • Approximately 1.7 million children in the U.S. live with unsecured guns.
  • 80 percent of unintentional firearm deaths involving kids under age 15 occur in the home.
  • In two-thirds of school shootings, the gun comes from the home of a parent or relative.

"Millions of Americans bring guns in their homes thinking it makes their family safer, but every day across our country parents learn how incredibly tragic that misperception can be," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "The bottom line is a gun in a home with kids dramatically increases the chance that a child in that home will be wounded or killed, either by suicide or a preventable accident. There are simple things all parents can do to keep their kids safe. One of them is to ASK if there's an unlocked, loaded gun where their child plays."

"All parents care about the safety of their children," said AAP President Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP. "The ASK Campaign empowers parents to talk with each other comfortably about guns in the home. Asking this simple question is an important step every parent can take to help their kids stay safe. That's why we recommend pediatricians talk with parents about preventing access to guns, just like they discuss other safety issues around the home. The safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms, but if you do own a gun, keeping it unloaded and locked up, with the ammunition stored separately, can greatly reduce the risk of injury."

Ashlyn Melton, who lost her son Noah to an accidental shooting at a friend's house, said, "In all those years of play dates and sleepovers, I never had anyone ask me about my guns, and I never asked anyone else about theirs. I didn't think to ask. I would have never let Noah go if I had known they had guns lying around loaded and unlocked. Please believe me when I say that one question may save your child's life."

Earlier this year in a landmark decision with national repercussions, a federal appeals court struck down an NRA-backed Florida law that restricted doctors from talking to their patients about the risks of guns. The decision by the full panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta was a victory for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, serving as co-counsel on behalf of doctors who believed the law violated their First Amendment rights.

The NRA's original law held that doctors could be censored, fined, and have their licenses to practice medicine revoked if the Florida Board of Medicine found they violated the law.

Parents and caregivers have been urged to sign a pledge to spread the ASK message in their community. The Pledge an be found at AskingSavesKids.org.

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The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.

About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.