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Sound Off: Just ask about guns in children’s homes to save lives
By JOHN DYER
The Island County Children’s Commission is in support of a campaign called ASK. ASK stands for Asking Saves Kids and is a partnership between PAX / Real Solutions to Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is dedicated to keeping our kids safe from harm.
ASK provides a practical opportunity to reinforce the importance of gun safety with parents and gives them ideas and tools, especially recommending they ask the simple question that could save their child’s life. Is
there a gun where my child plays? If so, then making sure it is appropriately secured.
Every time we lose another child due to a lack of safety measures when guns are kept in homes, we are outraged at the senselessness of the tragedy, but often this doesn’t prompt the action to prevent it from happening again. ASK is a tangible opportunity to respond proactively by urging parents to ask their neighbors and friends if they have an unsecured gun in the home before sending their children over to play.
Over 40 percent of homes with children have guns and many are kept loaded and unsecured and the child in the home knows where the gun is kept and where the ammunition is. Every day in America, on the average, eight children and teens are killed by firearms and an additional 48 are seriously injured (Injury Mortality Reports, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC 2006, 2007).
This is not a gun control issue, as we recognize a person’s right to own firearms. This is a common sense gun safety and public health issue.
This program was kicked of on June 21, by being recognized as National ASK Day. The statistics are too alarming to ignore. This program offers ways to increase protection of children from unintentional injury or death from firearms.
For more information please contact the ASK campaign by visiting www.AskingSavesKids.org or calling 1-800-983-I ASK. You can also contact Dan Bond, Island County Department of Health at 360-678-7884 or firstname.lastname@example.org for brochures and information.
John Dyer is an Oak Harbor resident. He submitted this for the Island County Children’s Commission.