Gun violence has become a major health issue. Firearms were the leading cause of homicides and suicides of young people 15 to 24 years old in the United States. Parents need to teach their children that: (1) guns don't solve problems; (2) guns can kill or cause lifelong disabilities; and (3) there are enormous differences between real life and the fantasy world of television and all of its violence. Furthermore, parents need to exercise complete control over any guns in their home. Those who have guns should keep them unloaded, uncocked, and stored in a securely locked container. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence suggests that gun owners adhere to the following additional guidelines:
- Store your gun and its ammunition in separate locations known only to you.
- Store your ammunition is a locked container away from heat and moisture. Never throw it out in the trash.
- Child-proof your revolver by placing a sturdy and tamper-resistant child-safety lock on the trigger or on the firing mechanism.
- Child-proof your semi-automatic handgun by removing the magazine, disassembling the frame from the slide and magazine or securing it with a child-safety lock.
- Never leave the keys to your child-safety locks or gun and ammunition storage containers where they are accessible to others. And make sure the keys cannot be duplicated.
Parents can get help from a Juvenile Service Team officer at their local SDPD Area Station regarding signs that their children might be involved with guns, where to look for guns that children might hide at home, and what discipline measures would be appropriate. Any guns that are found should be turned in at any SDPD facility listed in the table on the last page. Answers to questions about gun safety can be obtained by calling the SDPD Pistol Range at (619) 527-6070.
Information on effective strategies for preventing violence against youth can be obtained at www.preventviolence.org. This site also contains facts and data, and up-to-date information on violence prevention activities in California. At the national level the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center’s website at www.safeyouth.org contains information on hot topics, prevention and intervention programs, publications, and research and data on violence committed by and against children and teens.