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Thursday, November 15 News

Gun safety precautions begin at home

The issue of the safe coexistence of guns and people is a complex and emotional one.

Even the semantics are charged. The notion of "gun control," for instance, grates on the ears of the Second Amendment absolutists.

And protestations from gun rights advocates that mental illness -- not magazine capacity or the firing rate of a weapon -- is as much a cause in the heinous outbursts of mass shooting that have staggered us all over the last few years, are not without merit.

Certain precautions, one would think, are common sense and steps on which we all could agree.

Universal background checks, for instance, would seem to be one of the them, but there is no agreement, certainly not from the National Rifle Association, the loudest voice on the topic in Washington.

A new campaign is underway that, once again, we'd think is grounded in common sense. It is an initiative of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to heighten awareness about the potential danger posed by guns in the home.

A legally owned gun, if not stored properly and available to someone else in the home, particularly a child, can be a tragedy waiting to happen.

David Wheeler of Newtown has partnered with the Brady Center and will appear in advertisements coupled with a report, "The Truth about Kids & Guns," linking school shootings to parents' guns.

Wheeler's six-year-old son, Ben, was one of the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook School in December 2012.

Adam Lanza, the killer at Sandy Hook, brought guns -- legally purchased by his mother -- from home to the school.

"This is due in large part to a dangerous casual attitude to guns in homes," Wheeler said.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, said "As parents we need to be fully aware of the risks of kids and guns in the home and what we can do to keep our families safe."

This is not radical stuff.

We aren't saying you can't own guns; you just need to be aware of the risk and make safer choices on gun safety and storage.

Every year, according to Gross, more than 2,700 children die from gun shots. Sixty-eight percent of those deaths involved a gun in the home, or was brought from a home.

It stands to reason if gun owners tighten up the precautions that would keep a weapon from the hands of one of their children, that number could be brought down.

It's a campaign any right-thinking person can get behind.

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