The June 27 Rochester incident of a 16-year-old unintentionally shooting himself in the head, illustrates the frightening and real danger of unsecured guns. Only luck kept him from becoming another unintentional gun death.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many children are spending more time at home. Research shows that an estimated 4.6 million young people in the U.S. live in a household with at least one gun that is stored loaded and unlocked. While we strive to keep them safe from this virus, we also must keep them safe from this potentially deadly threat.

This incident is a wake-up call. All of us, gun owners or not, need to take action now. We can’t allow any more preventable, unintentional shootings by children, or deaths of young people by gun suicide.

During this challenging and stressful time, what can you do?

Here is a valuable resource:

The Be SMART program, created by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, strives to keep unsecured guns out of the hands of children and teenagers. It encourage parents and caretakers to “Be SMART” and take these simple steps to help prevent unintentional shootings:

  • Secure all guns in homes and vehicles.
  • Model responsible behavior.
  • Ask about firearms in other homes your child visits.
  • Recognize the role of guns in suicide.
  • Tell your peers to Be SMART.

Please commit to keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, especially those of our children.

Let’s Be SMART!

Anne Suchomel, Rochester Area Be SMART Coordinator