Well, it’s official. The school year has begun.

While this year doesn’t look like any other, one thing does remain the same: the presence of unlocked and loaded firearms in too many homes.

Access to unlocked firearms leads to accidental shootings, making guns one of the leading causes of death for American children and teens.

With schools closed, many of us might be breathing easier since the prevalence of school shootings has plummeted (to paraphrase Joe Biden, it shouldn’t take a pandemic to end school shootings), but firearm purchases have risen 70 percent during COVID-19. So, while school shootings have decreased, we currently have more guns and more children at home, together, than ever before.

If you are a gun owner, safely storing your firearm unloaded, locked, and separate from ammunition saves lives.

It’s also the law.

On Tuesday, August 25, the Santa Barbara Unified School Board will vote on a resolution that, if passed, would remind all parents and guardians that it is their legal responsibility to safely store their firearms. A bilingual letter would be sent home that must be signed and returned.

A similar resolution was successfully passed last year by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

It is our duty as adults to protect our children from danger and to keep them healthy and safe. Practicing safe storage is an easy, common sense way to do just that.

To all the gun owners already practicing safe storage: thank you. We need more responsible gun owners joining the fight to end gun violence.

Kendall Pata is the local group co-lead for the Santa Barbara Chapter of Moms Demand Action.


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