Proposed law would enact secure gun storage policy
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Yesterday, a secure gun storage bill was introduced in the Ohio State House of Representatives. If passed, it will help keep guns from getting into the hands of individuals who may harm themselves or others.
“We applaud Ohio legislators for introducing an urgently needed firearm safety policy that is proven to save lives,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on December 14, 2012. “The proposed legislation will reduce gun violence while also supporting responsible gun ownership.”
An April ATF report on U.S. gun crime found that, in the last five years, more than one million firearms were reported stolen. The actual number is likely much higher, considering not all thefts are reported.
Too often, legally purchased guns get in the hands of criminals through theft. That includes family members stealing unsecured weapons. In 2020, more than 16,000 guns were reported stolen in Ohio (up nearly 13% from 2019). According to the National Institute of Justice, over 80% of mass shooters at K-12 schools stole their guns from family members.
Secure storage is also critical to preventing suicide by firearm among young people. For instance, a November 2022 study examining firearm suicide data in five states — as captured in the National Violent Death Reporting System — found that 43% of young people (ages 18 – 20) used a family member’s firearm. This study also found that 79% of children who died as a result of suicide by firearm, used a family member’s gun. In 2020 alone, 24 Ohio kids (age 17 or under) died due to gun suicide (over 41% increase from previous years). Often, these kids use a firearm belonging to a parent.
“The proposed secure storage legislation will provide gun owners with the guidance and support they need to store their firearms safely,” said Barden. “Gun owners will be able to get free secure storage and locking devices and households impacted by accidental shootings will be eligible for free or low-cost mental health services.”
The bill will be referred to a committee for review before the House votes on it. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate.
“This is not a partisan issue; the overwhelming majority of voters support sensible gun policy reforms,” said Barden. “We encourage the Ohio House to take swift action to pass this life-saving firearm safety measure now. Delaying action will cost more lives.”
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579