Gun owners have an obligation in a civilized society to lock up a firearm so that it cannot wreak havoc in the home and community. But, more than half of gun-owners keep at least one firearm without any lock or other safe storage measure.
Pennsylvania law does not require gun-owners to store their firearm safely. Changing that could prevent unintentional shootings, school shootings and suicide.
An unsecured firearm. A life lost.
A toddler takes a gun out of a Paw Patrol backpack. He shoots his mom with it. A teenager uses his parents’ firearm to kill four at his school in Oxford, Michigan. A five year old finds an unsecured gun while playing with his brother.
Each of these are preventable catastrophes that started with an unsecured firearm. In Pennsylvania, like much of the United States, gun owners are not required to secure their firearm. The result: 91 percent of children killed with firearms in high-income countries are killed in the US.
Millions of homes with unsecured firearms
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends gun owners store firearms unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition. This is especially true if you have children in your home. Still more than 4.6 million minors live in a home with firearms that aren’t stored in a gun safe or with a safety device such as a trigger or cable lock.
Minors’ easy access to firearms pose a significant risk to themself, friends and their community. More than 70 percent of firearms used in youth suicide, unintentional shootings including among children, and under 18 school shooters are acquired from homes of relatives and friends. Unsecured firearms also make stealing them easy, diverting them into an underground market that fuels violent crime.
Safe storage saves lives
The best way to store a firearm is unloaded, locked up and separate from ammunition. Whether that keeps a child from getting it or someone who wants to harm themselves or others, that simple barrier does nothing to prevent a gun owner from accessing the weapon but can save a life.
In Pennsylvania, proposed legislation would require gun owners to store their firearms securely, something responsible gun owners already do. Making this law would make it clearer to gun owners with minors in the home: Secure your weapon or prepare to face potential charges for gross negligence.
Take a Stand
We’ll never stop fighting for a safe, gun violence-free Pennsylvania. If you share that goal, power our efforts today.