Editorial: Gun owners, keep your weapons unloaded and locked up

Published May 17, 2019

Exercising the Second Amendment right to bear arms brings great responsibility, and storing a gun properly can save a child's life. For the one-third of American homes that have guns, that means locking them up — unloaded — and locking up all ammunition in a separate place. A new study in JAMA Pediatrics, a journal of the American Medical Association, confirms that doing those simple things could prevent nearly a third of gun deaths involving kids by accident or by suicide. Taking those practical steps would have saved thousands of children's lives in the past decade.


Gunshots are the second-leading cause of death for children and teens.


Number of teens and children who died by gun suicide or unintentional firearm injury in 2015.

15 million

Number of teens and children living in homes where firearms are not stored safely.


Number of children and teenagers killed by guns in the last decade.


Portion of the 14,000 that were death by suicide.

6 percent

Number of the deaths that were accidental shootings.

Teenagers cannot legally buy guns in Florida, but that doesn't help if they can easily get hold of them in the home. Adults in a home often assume that a gun's owner has stored it safely, only to find out later that they were tragically wrong. The chances that a child will find and use a gun in a home are far greater than the odds that a homeowner will need it for self-defense, so if you keep a gun in your house, keep it unloaded and locked up. The life you save may be your child's.