During this stressful time of a pandemic, we are protecting our children and families by sheltering at home. When children are home, there are extra protections we should consider: 13 million households with children contain at least one firearm, and many are not stored safely; 4.6 million children live in a home with at least one loaded, unlocked gun; 1,500 American children are killed with guns annually, by homicide, suicide and unintentional shootings. There are simple steps we can take to keep kids safer.

All guns in homes and vehicles need to be secured with cable locks, in lockboxes or gun safes, with ammunition stored separately. A study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that children usually know where guns are kept at home. So, hiding rather than locking a gun is not a safe, secure choice. Parents and caregivers are responsible for keeping guns away from kids in order to prevent tragedy.

We must recognize the role of guns in suicide, especially at this traumatic time. Children can be impulsive. Easy access to a gun can mean the difference between life and death. Most people who attempt suicide do not die, unless they use a gun: 85% of suicide attempts by gun end in death. Suicide among people of all ages is at an all-time high.

Shelter your children by storing guns unloaded and locked. For more information, visit besmartforkids.org. Learn more about Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America at momsdemandaction.org.

Chapter Leader Biller authored this letter with the following Fargo-Moorhead Moms Demand Action volunteers: Martha Wheeler, Penny Retzer, Sarah King, Amber Mead, Kjellan Loe-Johnson, Jessica Jones, Kaatrin Holmberg, Shaina Eagleson, Katy McMullen, Lori Tiongson, Paulette Spiker and Bethany Mastin.