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A gun violence prevention group launched a campaign Tuesday encouraging gun owners to responsibly store their firearms, and they've enlisted the help of parents painfully aware of the dangers of what one called a "casual attitude about gun storage in the home."
David Wheeler, whose son was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, and Ann Marie Crowell, whose 12-year-old was accidentally shot by a friend, have teamed up with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to advocate for responsible gun storage in houses where children live or visit.
The campaign coincides with a report by the Brady Center, which collected data from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and several scholarly journals, highlighting the prevalence of firearm-related injuries and deaths that result from guns in the home. Two-thirds of school shooters took the gun they used from their own home or someone they knew, the report showed, citing the CDC. More than 1.7 million children live in a home with an unlocked and loaded gun, the report also showed, and 22 percent of parents who said their child had never handled their gun were contradicted by their child's claim.
The new ad campaign isn't vilifying parents who own guns, explained Brady Center President Dan Gross. Instead, parents are encouraged to use "simple steps" like locking their guns in a safe to ensure that children can't get access to them. The campaign also encourages parents to ask owners of homes where their kids play if they have a gun in their home. "if you're too embarrassed to bring up the conversation, close your eyes and imagine your life without your child," Crowell said.