The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics – announced today that the first day of summer, June 21, is National ASK Day (Asking Saves Kids) to remind parents and caregivers the importance of asking if there are unlocked or loaded guns in the homes where children play.
Nine children and teens are shot each day in gun accidents. Nationwide, one out of three homes with children has a gun, many kept unlocked or loaded. Approximately 1.7 million children in the U.S. live with unsecured guns.
To help encourage more parents to ask this potentially lifesaving question, the Brady Campaign is launching a social media campaign that includes online advertisements. Parents and caregivers will be urged to sign a pledge to spread the ASK message in their community. The pledge can be found at www.askingsaveskids.org. In addition, the Brady Campaign is encouraging parents to host ASK-themed play dates throughout the country on June 21st.
Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, said “Parents worry a lot about mass shootings that are outside their control; however, parents do have the ability to prevent unintentional shootings by asking about guns in the homes where their children visit and play. We routinely ask other questions related to our children’s safety. Every parent should simply add this one to the list.
The campaign also includes testimonials from moms who wish they’d asked this question.
“We never had guns in our home, and we still don’t, but we are the ones without a child in our house,” said Ann Marie Crowell, of Massachusetts, who lost her son in an unintentional shooting. “One question asked is one child’s life saved. It could have been my son’s.”
Ashlyn Melton, of Louisiana, said she taught her son how to handle a gun and always locked up her guns. “I never thought to ask other parents about their guns because I assumed they were as responsible as I am. I wish I had. My son died on a playdate when his friend playfully fired a gun at my son’s head because the friend didn’t think the gun was loaded. That gun should have been locked up and away from kids,” she said.
To help parents broach the subject, Jennie Lintz, the Brady Campaign’s Director of Public Health and Safety, suggested parents ASK by saying, “In the wake of all the terrible violence in the news, I’m worried about guns—I’m sure you are, too. Please don’t take it personally, but can I ask you to reassure me that you don’t have unlocked guns in the house that might unintentionally hurt our kids?”
For more than a decade, the ASK Campaign has partnered with over 400 grassroots organizations to spread its message in neighborhoods nationwide. More information is available at www.askingsaveskids.org.
The ASK Campaign is a collaboration between the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has promoted the ASK message to its 62,000 members across the country. The ASK Campaign has successfully inspired 19 million households to ASK if there are guns where their children play. Parents and individuals are encouraged to visit askingsaveskids.org and Pledge to ASK.