Brady NJ on bullets at Alpine School

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On March 15 a student brought bullets to Alpine School in Sparta and distributed them to his/her classmates. Thankfully a concerned parent called the school and an investigation quickly began. I would like to compliment the parent for alerting the school, Mr. Leone and his staff, the superintendent and the Sparta police for their swift action regarding this incident.

Where there are bullets there are most likely guns. If the bullets were so easily accessible to this child, was a dangerous firearm also accessible? This is a really important question to ask.

What is the school policy? The letter to parents, while informative, in my opinion missed a valuable opportunity to educate parents about gun safety. Here are the facts:

• 4.6 million children in the United States live in a home with unlocked or unsupervised guns.

• Every day in America, 8 children and teens are unintentionally injured or killed due to family fire.

• 75 percent of school shootings are facilitated by having access to unsecured and/or

unsupervised guns at home

At Brady, a leading gun violence prevention organization, we call it Family Fire, a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home that results in death or injury. We have an award-winning effective program running throughout the country. Please check it out here:

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides the following recommendations for keeping your home and community safe from family fire-related injury and death:

• Always store guns locked, unloaded, and out of children’s reach.

• From gun locks to safes, there are a range of effective solutions best suited for both gun and home.

• Always store ammunition separately from its gun - this reduces the risk of family fire up to 61%

• Always transport the gun locked inside a cool, clean, dry carrying case or storage box. These should always have numerical combinations or fingerprint recognition locks.

• Consider offsite gun storage options in your area.

• Have ongoing conversations with family and friends about responsible gun ownership, gun safety, and safe storage

• Ask the parents in homes your child might visit whether all guns are stored securely before your child or teen visits.

People may argue that school administrations have no business telling gun owners what to do with their guns however, I disagree. Protecting the health and safety of the students and school staff is every Administrations priority. 75 percent of school shootings are facilitated by having access to an unsecured and/or unsupervised gun at home. Almost every day on the news you hear of small children bringing loaded semi-automatic weapons into schools. Taxpayers are spending millions of dollars fortifying the schools and hiring school resource officers to protect students and staff. It is completely in their lane to remind parents to secure their guns at home.

If you are a gun owner, please follow the guidelines set forth by the American Pediatric Association. It will keep your children, my children, school staff and the community safe from injury or death.

Sue Hannon

Brady New Jersey

United Against Gun Violence

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