DETROIT – Today, during National Gun Violence Awareness Month, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), and Congressman Maxwell Frost (FL-10) introduced the Safe Storage Saves Lives Act to reduce firearm deaths in children.
Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded, and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence. A significant portion of these deaths involve the accidental discharge of a firearm, including a number of recent horrifying incidents in Southeast Michigan.
When used correctly, a gun lock or similar secure gun storage or safety device makes it impossible for a gun to be fired. These relatively inexpensive devices have already saved countless lives, and ensuring their use is key to combatting America’s gun violence crisis. Far too often gun owners fail to properly secure their weapons with tragic consequences, leading to preventable suicides, accidental deaths, and on several occasions, school shootings and other acts of mass violence.
Proper gun storage is a necessary component in preventing these tragedies. The Safe Storage Saves Lives Act would require a firearms seller to provide each purchaser with a compatible secure gun storage or safety device (commonly known as a “gun lock”) for every firearm they buy. It is critical that gun owners have these inexpensive devices for each of their firearms to prevent accidental shootings and deaths.
“It’s horrifying that 4.6 million children in our country live in homes with a loaded and unlocked firearm,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “Tragically, in Southeast Michigan, we have witnessed the deadly consequences of children having easy access to firearms in their homes. Safe storage is key to protecting our children from gun violence. The Safe Storage Saves Lives Act will require a gun lock with every gun sold in the United States. We must move with the urgency this moment demands and pass commonsense gun safety legislation that will save lives.”
“There is no reason why gun owners should not safely store their firearms. We have seen time and time again the horrors that result when an unauthorized person—or a child is able to access a deadly weapon,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “As our bill makes clear – safe storage saves lives – and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that ensures the responsible storage of firearms. Last Congress, we also passed legislation I authored, Ethan’s Law. This bill would require safe gun storage and establish strong penalties for any violation. With legislation like Ethan’s Law and the Safe Storage Saves Lives Act, we can reduce access to these unsupervised firearms – which are often used in suicides, school shootings, and other acts of violence – and save lives.”
“The Safe Storage Saves Lives Act strengthens our commitment to responsible gun ownership and the safety of our communities. This legislation takes meaningful steps to advance gun safety be reinvesting fines into free or reduced-cost gun lock distribution and public awareness campaigns about proper gun safety practices,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “Too many people, including many of my constituents, have been killed or injured because of unsafe gun storage. It is imperative that we improve our gun storage practices and create communities that no longer fear the violence and trauma caused by guns.”
“It’s a proven fact that families and children are significantly safer from gun violence when firearms in the home are stored separately and securely,” said Congressman Maxwell Frost. “The Safe Storage Saves Lives Act has the ability to save hundreds of innocent lives a year by simply making it standard practice that every firearm sale also comes with a gun lock or gun safety device. An epidemic that claims over 100 lives a day demands an all-encompassing solution. This is a common sense safety measure that all Americans should be able to get behind.”
“Voters of Tomorrow is committed to protecting the lives and futures of our nation’s youth and the Safe Storage Saves Lives Act is an instrumental step in working towards that goal. With more than 4 million American children currently living in households where at least one gun is loaded and unlocked, the need to pass this legislation is urgent in order to help mitigate safety risks for our nation’s children and to protect our communities. We are proud to stand in support of the members of Congress fighting to prioritize the safety and well-being of our youngest citizens,” said Ryan Yeager, Legislative Director of Voters of Tomorrow.
The Safe Storage Saves Lives Act is endorsed by Everytown For Gun Safety, Voters of Tomorrow, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Giffords, End Gun Violence Michigan Coalition, LGBT Detroit, Michigan United, Michigan People’s Campaign, Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church, Interfaith Action of SW Michigan, Michigan Parent Alliance for Safe Schools (MiPASS), Statewide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM), Oakland Forward Action Fund, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan (APIA Vote – Michigan), No Future Without Today, Distill Social, Fems for Democracy, Red, Wine and Blue, and the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center.
A copy of the legislation can be found here.