A broken clock is right twice a day. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Maybe those statements apply in this case, maybe they don’t, but by chance or by design it would appear that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is actually putting its dollars and its resources behind a cause that gun owners might actually support.
It’s called the “Be SMART” campaign, and it’s designed to reduce the number of accidental gun deaths, particularly those that involve young children.
SMART is an acronym for the following precautions: “Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the warning signs of suicide; Tell your peers to be SMART.”
According to Moms Demand Action, which is part of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, all of the following hold true:
- Nearly two children are killed in unintentional shootings each week, 61 percent higher than federal data reflect.
- About two-thirds of these unintended deaths — 65 percent — took place in a home or vehicle that belonged to the victim’s family, most often with guns that were legally owned but not secured.
- More than two-thirds of these tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them.
- Toddlers age 2-4 have the highest risk of unintentionally shooting themselves.
Now, I’m not sure how they arrived at those statistics. It’s quite possible that those numbers are inflated. Yet, even if they are, I think almost everyone agrees with the mindset that one accidental gun death is one too many. Supposing that we do indeed all share this zero tolerance approach to accidental shootings involving children perhaps we can agree that what Moms Demand Action is doing with the Be SMART campaign isn’t all that bad. On the contrary, it may help save lives.
Yes, I know what you’re going to say, it’s not a prefect prescription for the problem as it lacks the core element of gun safety: education. I agree. First and foremost, the emphasis should always be placed on educating children about firearms, not simply trying to keep guns out of their reach.
The theory behind this pro-active approach is no matter how hard a parent tries a parent can’t control all settings, situations and environments a child will encounter. Children may still find themselves in unsupervised situations where loaded firearms are present. Should that occur, one has to ask themselves which child is more equipped to deal with the loaded gun? And, by extension, which child will be more curious to touch and/or play with the firearm? The child who has been taught gun safety or the child who has been isolated from firearms his/her whole life.
I think the answer to those questions are rather obvious. As mentioned, a responsible parent should both educate the child on gun safety and keep all firearms secured. Unfortunately, the Be SMART campaign seems to push the latter while only alluding to the former with the “Model responsible behavior around guns” (That’s not exactly telling folks to teach thier children basic gun safety). So, yes, it has faults. But even with its faults, is it better than doing nothing on the issue?
If I’m being honest, I feel as though I have to give credit where credit is due. Moms Demand Action is finally doing something worthwhile that has the capacity to save lives. While I won’t be supporting the campaign, I’d much rather contribute to the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program or the NSSF’s Project Child Safe, I think it’s a step in the right direction for the organization.
I know it’s wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be great if Moms Demand Action abandoned its misguided efforts to roll back the rights of law-abiding gun owners and instead put its full weight and power behind an initiative like Be SMART?
It’ll never happen. Bloomberg is too much of an anti-gunner to give up on his dream of disarming America. But maybe with some positive encouragement the other leaders within Moms Demand Action will recognize that they stand to gain a lot more support from the gun community if they focus mainly on a campaign like Be SMART.