School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Thank You National PTA For Your Resolution on the Safe Storage of Firearms

I was so encouraged to read that the National Parent-Teacher Association has passed a resolution on the safe storage of firearms. It was shared with me by my nurse friend Cathie, Mom’s Demand Action South Jersey Co-Lead. Cathie and I have been working together to bring #BeSMART, the Mom’s Demand Action Safe Storage curriculum to my school districts and surrounding districts in NJ. Here is a comprehensive toolkit from #BeSMART to assist school nurses in presenting safe storage resolutions to our school districts and board of education meetings. Secure-Storage-Toolkit.BeSMART.11.2022

Urge Your School Board to Keep Communities and Schools Safe Evidence strongly suggests that secure firearm storage is an essential component to any effective strategy to keep schools, students, and communities safe. All concerned adults in the community can contribute to school safety in their district or individual school by following these steps to demand their school board passes a secure storage resolution and sends letters about secure storage home to parents. Read more about how to keep schools safe in Everytown’s School Safety Fact Sheet and Report. – retrieved from Be SMART: Urge Your School Board to Keep Communities and Schools Safe

In the pursuit of promoting safe firearm storage, the synergy between school nurses and local and National Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) is a powerful and essential partnership. Both school nurses and our PTA(s) share a common goal of ensuring the safety and well-being of students, making them ideal collaborators in addressing this critical issue.

Through joint efforts, school nurses and our PTAs can create a comprehensive approach to safe firearm storage. By combining our expertise, resources, and influence, we can reinforce the importance of responsible gun ownership and emphasize the role of safe storage in preventing tragic accidents and reducing the risk of firearm-related incidents among children and adolescents.

Ultimately, the synergy between school nurses and PTAs holds the potential to create a safer and more informed community, where parents and caregivers are empowered with the knowledge and tools to make responsible decisions regarding firearm storage, thus safeguarding the well-being of our students and school communities.

Let’s connect National PTA, I am interested in talking to you about safe storage and how school nurses can join in this important initiative!

Here is the resolution and a link to share it within your networks: National PTA Resolution – Safe Storage of Firearms

Whereas, Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens, and injure thousands more annually; and

Whereas, An estimated 4.6 million children live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms, while more than half of owners acknowledge storing at least one firearm unsafely, without any locks or other safe storage measures, and nearly a quarter of all gun owners report storing all their firearms in an unlocked location in the home; and

Whereas, Over 80% of child firearm suicides involved a gun obtained from their own home or that of a friend or relative. Suicide rates among children who live in homes with firearms are four times higher than among those in homes without firearms. Most unintentional firearm-related shootings among children occur in or around the home, and most firearms used in school shootings perpetrated by shooters under the age of 18 are acquired from the home or the homes of relatives or friends; and

Whereas, Research indicates that strong child access prevention laws decrease unintentional shootings, suicides, and school shootings. States with secure storage or child access prevention laws had the lowest rates of injury or death from unintentional child shootings but only 14 states have secure storage laws; and

Whereas, Evidence strongly suggests that limiting access to firearms by children and teens limits the risk of injury and death, and the storage of a firearm locked, unloaded, or separate from ammunition can reduce the risk of suicide in children and teens; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That National PTA urges its constituent organizations to raise awareness that secure gun storage, storing guns locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition, can prevent theft and access by children, unauthorized users, and anyone who may pose a danger to themselves or others, and that secure gun storage can save children’s lives; be it further

Resolved, That National PTA will work with other like-minded organizations to raise awareness about safe firearm storage and encourage its constituent organizations to collaborate with other community organizations that have similar interests and recognize that secure storage is an adult responsibility and is essential to preventing unauthorized, unsupervised access to firearms by children; be it further

Resolved, That National PTA urges its constituent associations to encourage state governments to enact laws that require owners to store firearms, whether they are loaded or unloaded, in a securely locked container, to prevent access by children under the age of 18; and be it further

Resolved, That National PTA and its constituent associations support legislation that educates, incentivizes, or requires adults to store their firearms safely in coordination with programs and information as described above.

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