School Safety and Secure Firearm Storage
School officials can pass resolutions to ensure parents know about how secure gun storage can prevent school shootings. In the vast majority of active shooter incidents in K-12 schools, the shooter or shooters were school-age and were current or former students. They also obtained their guns from their home or the homes of relatives. While millions of responsible gun owners follow recommended storage practices, research shows that more than half of gun owners do not store all of their guns securely.1Cassandra K. Crifasi et al., “Storage Practices of US Gun Owners in 2016,” American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 4 (2018): 532–37, https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304262. Oftentimes, the guns taken from the home and used by school-age shooters were easily accessible or were not stored securely. By taking proactive steps to promote responsible gun ownership and secure firearm storage, schools can prevent school gun violence and help keep school communities safe.
Unauthorized access to firearms is a major source of gun violence among young people in the United States. An estimated 4.6 million children in the US live in households with at least one loaded, unlocked firearm.2Matthew Miller and Deborah Azrael, “Firearm Storage in US Households with Children: Findings from the 2021 National Firearm Survey,” JAMA Network Open 5, no. 2 (2022): e2148823, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.48823. This exposure increases the risk of gun violence among youth. And there is strong evidence that in school gun violence incidents, shooters are exploiting unsecured and easily accessible firearms. Everytown for Gun Safety, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers have released a comprehensive set of evidence-based solutions to intervene and prevent school gun violence,3Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, American Federation of Teachers, and National Education Association, “Keeping Our Schools Safe: A Plan for Preventing Mass Shootings and Ending All Gun Violence in American Schools,” February 2020, https://www.everytownresearch.org/school-safety-plan. and secure firearm storage is an essential component to any effective strategy to keep schools safe.