A new campaign called “End Family Fire” is working to educate people about the 4.6 million kids that live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns. The Brady Campaign is taking out advertisements on TV, in newspapers and online to teach people how to talk openly about safety and how to store their guns properly.
Kyleanne Hunter is with the Brady Campaign, named after Jim Brady, the White House Press Secretary who was injured in the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Hunter is also the founder of Vets For Gun Reform. A veteran herself, she said she has been around guns her whole life, competing in skeet shooting as a young girl. But Hunter said she still needed people close to her to talk to her about gun safety during different phases of her life.
“For myself even, after coming back from one of my harder deployments, I had a dear friend approach me very candidly and say, ‘You need to start considering off-site storage for your guns. Like, yes, we know you still like to shoot but you’re not in the best place mentally right now.”
Hunter said that friend helped protect her from suicide.
She said it’s especially important to overcome the taboo of discussing gun safety in rural communities where children aged 5 to 14 die from gun accidents three times more often than urban kids that age.
“Often, it’s a misnomer that, ‘Well, I grew up around guns, I’m teaching my kids gun responsibility so therefore, they’re fine,'” said Hunter. “And that’s unfortunately much more common in rural areas that we’ve seen in urban areas. In urban areas, there’s a little more skepticism about guns.”
Hunter said the issue of guns may be a divisive one in the United States, but everyone can agree on the importance of gun safety.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in office, it doesn’t matter what our political beliefs are,” she said. “We can all come together and say it’s our responsibility to side with safety and ensure that our families, our communities and ultimately our country is safe.”