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In the News

Press Release on City of Houston's Safe and Secure
For Immediate Release, 5/2/2000

Contact: Paul Marchione, (202) 546-0200
paulm@kidsandguns.org

Common Sense about Kids and Guns Applauds
Mayor Lee P. Brown’s Operation Safe & Secure
Gun Safety Campaign

Houston to Distribute “Common Sense Safety Tips” with Gun Locks

Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a non-political gun safety organization headed by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, applauds the City of Houston and Mayor Lee P. Brown for initiating the gun safety awareness campaign, Operation Safe & Secure. By distributing free gunlocks and gun safety information, the City of Houston is working to prevent gun deaths and injuries by providing adults with common sense, practical steps to protect children from unsupervised access to guns.

"The risks to our children of unsafe firearm storage practices are significant,” points out Victoria Reggie Kennedy, president of Common Sense about Kids and Guns.  “The way a gun is stored can be a matter of life and death for our children.  In just the past few weeks, Houston has seen two 9-year-olds accidentally killed when they were left alone with loaded weapons in the home, and a 16-year-old use the loaded family gun to fatally end an argument with his brother.  Unfortunately, tragedies like these are happening everyday in this country -- tragedies that might never have happened if the firearms were locked and unloaded.”

Common Sense about Kids and Guns has provided the City of Houston with refrigerator magnets that will be distributed with free gunlocks and at other gun safety awareness events.  These magnets outline six Common Sense Safety Tips:  To ensure the safety of children, all gun owners should:  (1) unload and lock up their guns; (2) lock and store ammunition separately; and (3) hide keys where kids are unable to find them.  All parents must:  (4) ask if guns are safely stored at places their kids visit or play; (5) talk with their kids about guns; and (6) teach young children not to touch guns and to tell an adult if they find one.  These simple, yet crucial, steps can drastically reduce the number of children harmed by guns.

            Because of its importance and practicality, the Common Sense message is endorsed by an unprecedented, broad coalition of gun owners, non-gun owners, safety advocates, and child welfare professionals, including the sponsors of Project HomeSafe, the program providing the free gunlocks, for Operation Safe & Secure.

“We hope to make unloading, locking and storing guns properly as automatic as buckling a safety belt,” adds Kennedy.  “Our children depend on us to protect them.  And while there are many complex issues that lead to gun violence in our society, we can’t wait one more day to start doing what we can to keep our children safe.  The City of Houston’s gun safety awareness program is an excellent step in this direction."

# # #

ATTENTION JOURNALISTS: The Common Sense safety tip magnet is available to download in a high-resolution format at www.kidsandguns.org/houstonmagnet.gif. To arrange an interview with Mrs. Kennedy, contact Paul Marchione, (202) 546-0200.  For more information, visit the Common Sense about Kids and Guns web site at www.kidsandguns.org.


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