Who is really trying to keep guns away from the hands of children?
It’s not the loud-mouthed gun-control groups that claim false victories. It’s really the pro-gun organizations putting their money where their mouths are and effectively preventing firearms from getting into the hands of prohibited users.
June is National Safety Month and GLOCK is taking this time to roll out its annual safety campaign, the GLOCK Safety Pledge, Four Our Safety. In its fifth year, over 50,000 people have pledged to follow the four rules of firearm safety always. Responsible gun owners are encouraged to spread awareness of firearm safety through their social media channels using the hashtag #FollowTheFour. Josh Dorsey, GLOCK’s Vice President, says, “We believe that the first and most important step to being a responsible gun owner is knowing how to handle and store your firearm safely. And as a firearms manufacturer and a leader in the industry, it is GLOCK’s first and foremost responsibility to teach and promote firearms safety.” GlOCK isn’t the only one serious about safety—many pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment organizations promote and advocate for safe gun use and storage.
The ironic thing is, the gun-control groups that spend their time protesting and spewing lies on Twitter do nothing but talk. They all claim they help pass gun control legislation and defeat pro-gun candidates. For examples, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s website says, “Against fierce opposition, we have helped pass more than 200 new strong gun laws in 45 states and Washington DC” and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America claim they “successfully pressured Starbucks to stop allowing guns in its stores—” which isn’t even true. Starbucks did not change its gun policy. The legal carry of firearms is not banned in Starbuck’s coffee shops. The Chairman, President and CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz did, however, request that gun owners leave their guns in the car or at home. He said, “We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.” #SorryNotSorry, Moms, I’m still carrying LEGALLY in your local Starbuck’s.
It could be that these anti-gun groups do help defeat pro-gun candidates and were able to influence legislation, but most of their programs revolve around talking rather than action. Moms Demand and Everytown for Gun Safety’s SMART campaign encourages parents to follow five rules: “secure all guns in your home and vehicles, model responsible behavior around guns, ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes, recognize the risks of teen suicide and tell your peers to be SMART.” The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Keep Kids and Families Safe campaign tells parents to take the pledge to ask their children’s’ playmates’ parents, “Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?” The only organization I found that was proactive in its approach is the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence which helps develop, write and enact Gun Violence Restraining Order laws in different states.
All these groups ask for donations but there isn’t any clear indication of where those donations go, while on the other hand, the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) have tangible programs proven to prevent accidental gun injuries and deaths.
The NSSF started its safety program Project ChildSafe in 1999. Partnering with 15,000 law enforcement agencies, the NSSF has been able to distribute 37 million safety kits which include cable-style gun locks. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance gave the NSSF a $2.4 million grant to help fund Project ChildSafe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Safety Council, firearms accidents dropped by nearly 24% between 2006 and 2015, constituting less than one 1% of accidents in the country.
In 1988, the NRA, along with a group of teachers, school administrators, curriculum specialists, psychologists and law enforcement developed the Eddie Eagle program, which educates children on what to do if they encounter a firearm. Anyone interested in teaching it can do so, and all materials are available free online. Eddie Eagle has taught over 29 million children to Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, and Tell a Grown-Up if they come across a firearm.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report in 2017 detailing the results of a study on programs devoted to promoting gun safety and storage. Talking about firearms was found to be ineffective, while programs like Project ChildSafe that provide free locking devices made a difference. Gun owners receiving locks use them and continue to practice safe gun storage, while simply just handing out literature does nothing to change how gun owners store their firearms. Research shows that proper firearm storage prevents accidental gun deaths and pro-gun groups actively promoting safe storage are helping. In fact, the National Safety Council found that “unintentional firearms deaths have dropped to their lowest level since record-keeping began.”
Hashtags and argumentative Tweets aren’t keeping children safe. Responsible gun owners doing their part is. The Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, Dean Rieck says, “Those calling for gun control have little interest in taking real steps to promote public safety and well-being…they are doing nothing at all to address real-world problems. We provide training to deter or stop mass murderers in schools. Do they?… For goodness sake, stop demagoguing about guns and violence. Stop raising money for political campaigns with the blood of innocent victims. Stop blaming millions of law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a tiny handful of criminals and mentally ill people. It’s infuriating that the people who know the least about guns and violence are so quick to lecture those of us who know the most. We have practical, proven solutions. Why don’t you start listening to us?”