The following are the top four reasons why safe gun storage is critical to the safety of our children and communities in Kansas.
Rising Gun Violence: We have experienced a significant increase in gun violence in recent years, with mass shootings, homicides, accidental deaths and suicides occurring at alarming rates. Safe gun storage laws help reduce the risk of guns falling into the wrong hands and prevent these tragic incidents.
Prevent Accidental Shootings of Children: One of the primary reasons for safe gun storage is to prevent accidental shootings, particularly among children who may not understand the danger of firearms and are often the victims of unintentional shootings. In 2021, 30 million children lived in homes with firearms, up seven million from 2015, and 4.6 million children live in homes with at least one loaded, unlocked gun. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in the United States. Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, states with safe storage laws have significantly lower rates of unintentional firearm deaths among children compared to states without such laws.
Protect Individuals with Mental Health Issues: Safe gun storage can also help protect individuals with mental health issues who may pose a danger to themselves or others. Secure gun storage can prevent these individuals from gaining access to firearms during a crisis. Access to a gun in the home increases the risk of death by suicide by 300%, and suicide attempts using a gun are fatal 85% of the time. Between 70% and 90% of guns used in youth suicides, unintentional shootings among children and school shootings are acquired from the home or the homes of relatives or friends.
Promote Responsible Gun Ownership: Safe gun storage is an essential aspect of responsible gun ownership. By properly storing their firearms, gun owners can show that they take their responsibility seriously and are committed to preventing gun-related accidents and incidents. This makes these laws incredibly effective at preventing gun deaths and injuries among children and teens. Even modest increases in the number of homes safety storing firearms could prevent almost a third of youth gun deaths due to suicide and unintentional firearm injury. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 77% of gun owners support laws requiring safe storage of firearms.