Firearms have become the leading cause of death in children and adults. In the U.S., mass shootings across Texas and the nation have captured headlines.
Jennifer Northway, the Director of Adult & Pediatric Injury Prevention at University Health, said what we hear less frequently guns being stored safely, and if firearm injuries happen because of that.
The result is firearm-related suicides, unintentional discharges and firearm theft.
The latest data from the CDC shows that in 2020, 79% of all homicides involved firearms. Data also shows that 53% of all suicides involved firearms. Firearm homicide rate in 2020 was the highest recorded in over 25 years.
The Bexar County Child Fatality Review Team reported that more kids died by homicide, suicide and accidental deaths in 2020 compared to the previous four years.
A coalition of Bexar County organizations believe we can prevent many of these tragedies by promoting safe gun storage. That’s why Bexar County, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Be SMART for Kids, Safe Kids San Antonio, VIA and University Health are working to save lives through our partnership, GunSafety4Bexar.
How can guns be stored safely?
Use gun locks, store the firearm and ammunition separately and do not leave guns in your vehicle. Many guns are stolen each year from locked vehicles.
How can we keep kids safe when they are at a friend’s house?
Parents should include firearm injury prevention as part of their general safety conversations with extended family and other parents, said Northway. Much like asking about food allergies or pets, parents should confirm safe storage practices. It is important to know that guns are being stored safely at a home your child may visit.
Where can I obtain a free gun lock?
Free gun locks are available through the GunSafety4Bexar program. Visit the University Health website for a list of pick up locations.