Jan. 25, 2022 – The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and Moms Demand Action will host a free, virtual training session on Jan. 26, 2022, at 7:00 p.m., for Westchester County families and community members focused on increasing awareness of safe firearm storage practices and ways to curb gun violence and reduce the number of child gun deaths.

Every year, 5.4 million children in America live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked. Nearly 350 children 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else – sometimes fatally, and every year, nearly 700 children 17 and under die by suicide with a gun.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the rate of gun deaths of children 14 and younger rose by roughly 50 percent from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020. The statistic worsened in 2021, with nearly 1,550 children and teenagers younger than 18 reportedly killed in homicides and accidental shootings, compared to approximately 1,380 in 2020, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

New York law requires gun owners to secure their guns if children 16 years old or younger live in or visit the home. All guns need to be in a gun safe or locked with a trigger guard or similar gun-locking device, and ammunition must be locked in a secure location away from the firearms. Storing guns unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition prevents access and saves lives. Violation of this law is potentially chargeable as a Class A Misdemeanor.

During the “Be SMART” training, presenters from the District Attorney’s Office and Moms Demand Action will encourage parents and caretakers to Be SMART and take five simple steps to help prevent shootings by children:

  1. Secure all guns in your home and vehicles
  2. Model responsible behavior around guns
  3. Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
  4. Recognize the role of guns in suicide
  5. Tell your peers to Be SMART

The training is part of the Safe Storage Initiative – launched by the District Attorney’s Office and Moms Demand Action in 2021 to help curb gun violence, including school shootings, suicides and accidental shootings, especially among young people – by providing valuable resources and training to families and caretakers. As part of this initiative, school districts across Westchester County distributed information to their school communities last month about the risks posed by unsecured guns and the laws in NY requiring gun owners to keep guns safely stored and away from children.

Join us Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Meeting password: 125526.