According to the Brady Campaign and the Journal for Urban Health, nearly 4.6 million children live in a home with loaded and unsecured guns. A 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control reports that 3,000 children were unintentionally shot and 127 were killed in incidents resulting from improperly stored guns.
Some gun owning parents may have no idea of the unintentional harm of leaving a firearm improperly stored or even believe their methods are unsafe. Many weapons are kept locked in gun safes, but with the key or combination readily available, accessibility is rendered possible. Children often know where guns are stored at home and how to access them, even if their parents don’t think they do.
Keeping firearms locked up is not only common sense, it’s the law.
Too often, children obtain unauthorized access to firearms at home. Many accounts of children accidentally shooting siblings, parents or themselves have been reported in the news, and with the rise of firearm-related threats and violence in schools across the nation, the risk of harm is too great to overlook.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced three informative public service announcements, warning of the importance of keeping firearms out of the hands of children. The reminders each depict very different, realistic and moving scenarios, and are slated to play across 50 Sheriff’s Department Facebook accounts and 35 Twitter accounts. Our social media followers have a robust, combined reach of eight million users.
“I would like to ask the community outreach representatives at all the television news outlets in town, and all the online editors of our local newspapers, to consider airing the PSAs as a public service. Thank you,” said Sheriff McDonnell.
Sheriff McDonnell recalled a tip received by deputies. They learned of a student who made threats against a local high school in Whittier, which resulted in the location of two assault rifles and 100 high-capacity magazines at home. The juvenile student and his adult brother who owned the weapons were arrested.
In an effort to keep our schools, businesses and neighborhoods safer longer, Sheriff McDonnell recently approved 65 additional charges for gun-related crimes, for which those convicted will serve 100% of their statutory jail time. This includes the negligent storage of a firearm, per California Penal Code 25100(c).
All three public service announcements will be made available to local television and online media who wish to support the message of safe firearms storage. If you wish to obtain a copy, please contact the Sheriff’s Information Bureau at 213-229-1850.