Yesterday was a day of highs and lows.
It started out great. I found out an op-ed article of mine was published in this month's issue of Metro-Parent Magazine, a Portland, Oregon family magazine. The article features the ASK Campaign, the need for safe storage of guns around children, and a quick introduction for the need for Child Access Prevention laws. Here is a link to the issue; see page 28 for my article: http://www.metro-parent.com/issues/june11/june11.pdf
June 18 is National ASK Day. The ASK campaign advocates that parents ask about guns and their storage wherever their children play, such as at a friend's house. For more on the ASK campaign, please see my PREVIOUS POST, or visit the originator of the program, PAX (www.paxusa.org).
It is all too common, I'm sorry to say, that tragedies happen due to ready access of unlocked and loaded weapons by children. Just last week, for instance, a 2-yo boy shot and killed his 6-yo sister after finding a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his father's bedroom. When police responded and searched the home, they found an amazing 53 guns in the home. Five children, between the ages of 2 and 15, lived in the home. What would the father have said before the shooting, I wonder? Would he have claimed his children knew not to touch the guns without his supervision? That they were stored safe enough?
I spent the day outside, enjoying the (finally!) warm weather here in Oregon and watching my 5- and 6-yo kids play on their Slip-N-Slide and ride bikes. I'm glad I don't have to worry about them accessing guns in our home, or the homes of the friends we visit.
Yesterday ended on a sad note, though. Around 6:30, a 19-yo young man was shot twice outside a local indoor putting range and arcade, called Putters. He was shot by another young man, thought to be 18 years old. The victim was out in the parking lot listening to music with relatives when the assailant approached and started shooting. The victim was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive. Though it is legal in Oregon for someone 18 or older to possess a handgun or to purchase a handgun privately, it is illegal for them to be sold a handgun from a licensed seller (until they are 21). So where did the youth get his weapon? Currently he is on the run. This is the age demographic most at risk for gun violence.
Remember, every gun in the hands of a child first passed through the hands of an adult.