It's a simple enough question but a surprisingly difficult one to ask: "Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?"
Asking saves kids — that's the belief at ASK, a national organization dedicated to encouraging parents and other adults to embrace a simple idea with big potential to keep kids safe.
Making the pledge to "just ask" seems even more important when faced with these statistics from ASK: Nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun, and one in three homes with children has a gun.
So, what to do?
First, ask your kids:
- Have they ever seen a gun?
- Do they have friends who have seen one?
- What would they do if they saw a gun?
Then, ask people whose home your child may visit:
- "I hope you don't mind, but when we play at a new friend's house we always ask whether there are any weapons kept at home."
- "Emma can't wait to visit! But I just need to ask: Do you have a gun in your home?"
- "Dylan is such a curious little boy. So whenever he goes into a new home, I always need to ask: Are there any guns there?"
"Parents ask all sorts of questions before their children visit other homes," ASK notes on the organization's website. "You ask about pets in the house, discuss allergies and internet access and ask questions about supervision. ASK encourages parents to add one more question to this conversation."
What more can you do?
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