DOE distributes federal gun safety information to parents

President Joe Biden speaks during an event to celebrate the passage of the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” a law meant to reduce gun violence, on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, July 11, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In an effort to thwart gun violence in the city, NYC Public Schools released an email last week to parents providing information and resources on how to safely store firearms in the home. 

The White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention created the federal resources to give parents more information on how to better maintain and store firearms in an effort to avoid unintentional gun discharges. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) has been an active advocate for the release of the resources in New York and across the country. This month, Goldman, along with Congress Member Maxwell Frost (D-Florida), New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Public Schools Chancellor David Banks, and gun violence prevention and parental advocates, announced the public schools’ intention to distribute the resources.

“I am proud that following my request, New York City Public Schools has become one of the first public school districts to have successfully distributed life-saving safe storage materials to families,” Goldman said. “We know that when firearms are properly secured, children are 85% less likely to be victims of an unintentional shooting. As an integral part of our communities, our public schools are a direct line to children and to families. Families in our city will be safer as a result of our swift action.”

According to the Department of Education (DOE), since 2018, there have been more than 100 school shooting incidents per year in the country — and those numbers have steadily increased. Approximately three-quarters of school shooters acquired their firearm from he home of a parent or close relative. 

Gun safety tips

Some tips DOE included in the gun safety email to parents include:

Safely storing firearms. Store firearms, always unloaded, in a tamper-proof locked cabinet, box, safe, firearm vault or storage case that children and other unauthorized adults can not access.

Safely store ammunition. Similar to storing guns, store ammunition it in a separate, tamper-proof locked cabinet, safe, firearm vault or storage case that children and other unauthorized adults can not access.

Also, parents should use trigger locks or cable locks to prevent a firearm from firing, the email stated. 

Every year, according to a press release from Goldman’s office, nearly 350 children younger than age 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or others with a firearm. More than 70% of these incidents take place within the child’s home.

Earlier this month, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot his 14-year-old cousin by accident after getting a hold of a shotgun in a Brownsville, Brooklyn, apartment. 

Storing away guns also helps reduce suicide rates among children. More than half of children who commit suicide do so with a family member’s gun, Goldman’s press release stated.

According to the Children’s Hospital Association, approximately 2 million kids attempt suicide each year. Additionally, according to the organization, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24.