Rep. Goldman, NYC officials, announce public schools to distribute safe gun storage guidance to families

Congress Member Dan Goldman
Rep. Dan Goldman.
Photo by Dean Moses

U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-Manhattan-Brooklyn) joined NYC officials and anti-gun violence advocates Thursday to announce the city’s Department of Education commitment to share new federal resources available for keeping guns away from kids.

During a press conference at City Hall with fellow Congress Member Maxwell Frost (D-Florida), Goldman discussed the importance of safe gun storage. 

The announcement follows the Congress Member’s letter to NYC Public Schools Chancellor David Banks requesting an update on his plan to distribute the now-available resources from the U.S. Department of Education into city schools. During the press conference, he highlighted alarming statistics around children and gun violence.

“Vast majority of school shooters — about three-quarters — get their weapons from family members at home,” Goldman said. “4.6 million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns. And that’s why safe gun storage is so important to stop unintentional gun firings.”

The Congress Member added that keeping guns safely stored away lowers the chances of children being shot by 85%. 

Some of the federal resources now available for schools across the country include information on how to keep guns safely stored away, as well as a communications template that school leaders can use to engage with parents and families about safe firearm storage. 

In response to the letter, NYC DOE Schools Chancellor David Banks said at the press conference that he would disseminate the federal safe-storage information to parents and communities. 

“This is something that we are going to lean into as NYC public schools,” Banks said. “We have access to almost one million parents and families and we are going to make sure we get the word out to all of our parents and families. Anything we can do as deeper reminders to parents who do in fact legally possess guns, to give them more information on how to safely store them, is critically important.”

NYC Mayor Eric Adams echoed the chancellor’s comments. 

“If you have guns at home, get safe locks, get storage,” the mayor said. “Really think about the inquisitive nature of a child to pick up a gun and oftentimes they don’t realize the seriousness of it. It is such an important simple step we can take. It is important for us to realize, when you think about it, guns are the leading cause of death among ages 1 to 17. Firearm suicide among young people ages 10 to 24 is the highest rate in 20 years.”

Both Congress Members said it is important that localities across the country also disseminate information on proper firearm storage. 

“I commend the mayor, Congress Member Goldman, and the city for taking this critical step to ensure parents and families across New York City have the resources they need to make the right firearm storage decisions that will keep students and teachers safe and potentially prevent the next shooting or tragedy,” Frost said.

Abbey Clements, a second-grade teacher during the devastating 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., is the executive director of Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence. She spoke about the bigger role teachers should have in discussions surrounding gun-violence protection. 

“Educators are the helpers, the communication experts and experts in our field and caregivers of our students and often of the families, and sometimes we’re first responders,” she said. “Educators need to be invited to the table and to press conferences like this to have the conversation about what can we do to stop this.”

She said advocates have to talk about what it is like when kids are impacted by gun violence. 

“It’s all about education and clarity. And normalizing the expectations of safe firearm storage,” she said.