The City Council agenda for Monday September 23 picks up a piece of business held over from a previous council; creating a safe storage requirement for firearms as a focus on suicide prevention.
While safe storage is a major campaign point for many organizations that focus on gun control, equally urgent are the numbers of children who kill themselves, their siblings or their playmates by discharging a gun that they find at home; loaded and unlocked.
In a study published in May of 2019 by the Journal of American Medicine, the authors estimated that if just 20 percent of households switched from leaving at least one of their guns unlocked to storing all of their guns locked, in a single year, the deaths of nearly 100 children and teens could be prevented.
There are an average of 355 unintentional shootings by American children per year. Roughly one person is shot everyday by a child who is able to get their hands on an unsecured gun.
More than a third of child and teen gun deaths are suicides and research indicates that responsible gun storage practices are associated with reduced rates of child firearm suicide. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked.
Evidence also shows that the majority of guns used in incidents of gunfire on school grounds are taken from the home of the shooter, a family member or the home of friends.
The agenda item had been requested in 2013, and the council had agreed to agendize. The item on Monday’s council meeting will fulfill that request.
In addition, the council will discuss flying flags at half-mast in recognition of the country’s gun violence crisis.