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DECEMBER 31, 1998   7:00 AM
CONTACT: Center to Prevent Handgun Violence
Naomi Paiss 202-289-5784
Sarah Brady Offers New Year's Resolution: 'Let's Make 1999 a Safe Year for Our Children'
WASHINGTON - December 31 - Citing the results of a recent survey on parents, children and guns, Sarah Brady today offered a New Year's Resolution for gun-owning parents: If you own a gun, unload it and lock it up. Last month, the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence released a nationwide poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates that showed that more than two in five of all American households with children have guns, and of those, about one in four keep those guns loaded and/or unlocked. Sarah Brady is the chair of Handgun Control Inc. and its educational affiliate, the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

In the survey of 806 parents, conducted from October 31 to November 4, 1998, 43 percent of households with children have guns, and 23 percent of gun households keep a gun loaded. Twenty-eight (28) percent keep a gun hidden and unlocked.

"Too many children in America," Sarah Brady said, "have access to a loaded firearm in the home. And for too many households, it's a tragedy just waiting to happen. Nearly two thousand children and teen-agers die from unintentional shootings and suicides each year and many more suffer non-fatal injuries. But it's not just families that are at risk when a gun is improperly stored, it's the entire community. Too many children are getting guns from private homes and carrying guns to school and, too often, with tragic results. No one wants to see another Jonesboro in 1999."

"It's not that our children are necessarily bad. Children are
naturally curious and many are attracted to guns. Don't let it be a fatal attraction. If you have a gun in the home, make sure that the gun is unloaded and locked up. And store the ammunition separately in a locked container. It's just common sense.

"And," Sarah Brady emphasized, "proper gun storage is not just common sense. In many states, it's the law." Sixteen states now have laws Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws that hold gun owners criminally responsible if they leave a firearm where a child can gain access to it and the child uses the gun to injure themselves or others.

Sarah Brady also urged non-gun owning parents to consider asking friends and neighbors whether there is a loaded, unlocked gun in the home when their children visit. Brady noted that the CPHV/Peter Hart poll found that only 30 percent of parents have ever asked the question. "I've met far too many grieving parents who wish they had asked. If your child is going next door to play or to stay overnight, you have a right to know whether there is an improperly stored gun in the home. Too many children are unintentionally shot by their friends. All too frequently, a child will take the ammunition magazine out of Dad's pistol and, believing it to be empty, aim the gun at a friend and pull the trigger, not knowing that there can still be a bullet left in the chamber.

"If you're a parent, make gun safety a New Year's Resolution. It could be the most important resolution you've ever made."


The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, chaired by Sarah Brady, was founded in 1983 to reduce gun violence through education, legal advocacy, research, and outreach to the entertainment community. Based in Washington, D.C., CPHV's national initiatives include prevention programs for parents and youth on the risks associated with guns, legal representation for gun violence victims, work with the entertainment community to encourage deglamorization of guns in the media, and research of the risks associated with guns and the efficacy of gun control laws. More information about CPHV and its affiliated organization, Handgun Control Inc., can be found on the website at




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