Disclosure :: Children’s Hospital New Orleans, the New Orleans Department of Health, and Be SMART are teaming up to raise awareness that secure gun storage – storing guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition – can save children’s lives. Responsible gun ownership protects kids and reduces child firearm deaths. This post is sponsored but our hope is that it helps keep kids safe!
Be SMART Campaign: Keep Kids Safe, Secure Your Firearms
In the wake of various shootings in our country, state, and city, many of us feel a sense of urgency about what we can do to keep our families safe. I know I have been overwhelmed by each of these tragic events and desperately desire to do something. For these reasons, and so many more, this is why the Be SMART campaign has resonated so deeply with me and given me a sense of hope. While we can’t put an end to tragic events in our lives or even be guaranteed the safety we so desperately want, we CAN move forward in some very practical ways with the Be SMART campaign.
In partnership with Children’s Hospital, the Department of Health, and other local agencies the Be SMART Campaign is seeking to bring gun safety to New Orleans as part of their national campaign. The reality is that firearm injuries are the leading cause of death for kids under eighteen in Louisiana. That is why the Be SMART campaign is so vital with its mission to promote responsible gun ownership, to protect kids, and ultimately to reduce child gun deaths. In attending the press conference for Be SMART, I learned that 4.6 million children across the United States live in homes with at least one gun that is loaded and unlocked. Because of this, each year in the U.S., 350 children are able to gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else—sometimes fatally. On top of this, more than 700 children die by suicide with a gun each year. During the press conference we heard from some of the incredible Doctors at Children’s Hospital. It was sobering to listen as they recounted with passion and sorrow some of the things they’ve seen that could be completely preventable if more people got on board with securing their firearms in a way that children could not access. We also heard from a local mom who is part of the Mom’s Demand Action New Orleans chapter, an organization that actively seeks to promote responsible gun ownership.
The Be SMART Campaign is devoted to bringing awareness by working to educate on the following:
- Secure all guns in your home and vehicle
- Model responsible behavior around guns
- Ask about unsecured guns in other homes
- Recognize the roles of guns in suicide
- Tell your friends and neighbors to Be SMART
In regards to securing guns, the campaign advocates for gun owners to store their guns unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition. Storage should include boxes, safes, or cable locks. In understanding that it’s important to many gun owners to have quick access to their guns, the campaign is partnering with local organizations to give out free biometric gun locks. At these community events, in addition to providing free biometric gun locks, there will be education provided about securing guns and preventing children’s access to them. The hope is that this will lead to less injury and death: a mission we can all unite in moving towards. Biometric gun locks can also be requested from Children’s Hospital’s website: chnola.org/besmart.
Last week, I got to hear from Jennifer Avegno, MD, Director of the New Orleans Health Department. She summed up why this campaign is so important perfectly: “As adults, we’re responsible for keeping our children safe. That’s why it is crucial for us to store guns securely if we have them – and encourage friends and neighbors to practice secure storage whenever children visit their homes.” It is our job to bring awareness to what we can do to promote gun safety. We owe it to our children and all of the children we interact with: Be SMART is an excellent place to start with its straightforward mission.
Go to besmartforkids.org/Louisiana for more information and resources.
CHNOLA will also be out in the community raising awareness and distributing free biometric gun safes on the following dates:
- Saturday, April 15 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM | Dryades YMCA | 2220 Oretha C, Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
- Saturday, April 22 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Taylor Park | 2600 S. Roman St
- Monday, May 8 | 5:30PM – 6:30PM | Warren Easton Senior High School | 3019 Canal St.