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March 15, 2021 -- The Westchester District Attorney’s Office is partnering with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence, to address the issue of gun violence in Westchester County, DA Miriam E. Rocah announced today. 

“Unsecured guns in the home present a major risk to everyone in the household,” Rocah said. “Even if you do not own a gun, your children may encounter one at the home of a friend or relative. You have an important responsibility to protect your children from guns, wherever they may be encountered.”

The DA’s Office will partner with all local schools to provide free resources for families to learn more about secure storage of firearms. Additionally, Moms Demand Action will provide free virtual training about their secure firearm storage program, Be SMART

Studies of all types of school-based gun violence show that keeping students away from guns in the home is a critical way to reduce violence. In a recent study of school violence incidents across the country, 76 percent of the firearms were obtained from the home of a parent or close relative.

Unsecured guns in the home pose a risk to students beyond gun violence in schools. Every year in the United States, nearly 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. That’s roughly one unintentional shooting per day. Additionally, almost 600 children in this country die by gun suicide each year. In the overwhelming majority of these incidents, the gun used was one that belonged to someone in their home.  In New York, guns are the fourth-leading cause of death among children and teens and 63 children and teens die by guns every year.

New York law requires gun owners to secure their firearms if children 16 years old or younger live in or visit the home. All firearms need to be in a gun safe or locked with a trigger guard or similar gun locking device, and individuals who fail to do so can be charged with a misdemeanor.

“Keeping our communities safe from gun violence is one of our top priorities at the Westchester District Attorney’s Office and we are partnering with Moms Demand Action to educate all Westchester families about secure firearm storage,” Rocah added.

“It’s always an adult’s responsibility to keep children safe, and keeping guns locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition will do just that,” said Jessica Buck, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the District Attorney’s Office on this proactive initiative. Securing guns and keeping them out of the hands of kids and teens will save lives.”

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Media contact:
Dan Weiller, Director of Communications
(914) 995-3586
dweiller@westchesterda.net

 

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