Leesa Ross knows that accidental shooting deaths happen.
She learned that lesson the hard way when she lost her son to an accidental shooting.
Now, Ross advocates for gun safety, to help prevent others from enduring the same painful situation she had to.
“It is a weapon," she said. "It is designed to kill. So, with that in mind, that is how we have to treat it. We don’t treat it like a toy.”
One of the most important things to do, she said, is keep guns locked up when not in use.
“If we can just get our communities to start locking up their guns, we can reduce these tragedies from happening by so much," she said. "I don’t want to say 100%, but we can definitely do a reduction in the number of tragedies that are happening."
Alexandra Chasse works with Moms Demand Action, a national group with chapters in every state, working to protect people from gun violence.
Chasse said it is most important to educate adults on proper gun ownership safety, because, while kids can be taught proper gun safety, they are more likely to forget that safety when they come in contact with a weapon.
“Children are young," she said. "We should next expect them to have the same level of sense of responsibility as adults, they’re very curious."
Chasse encourages people to visit beSMARTforkids.org, for information provided by Moms Demand Action on proper gun safety.
The website uses the acronym SMART to highlight important information to remember.
- Secure all guns in your home and vehicles;
- Model responsible behavior around guns;
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes;
- Recognize the role of guns in suicide; and
- Tell your peers to be SMART.
Chasse said accidental shooting deaths are preventable, and gun owners should take steps to prevent them from happening.
“It’s common in our culture to talk about these instances being accidents," she said. "In a lot of cases they are not. In a lot of cases they were preventable incidents.
"Once we accept that basic premise, we can take the simple approaches to remember the steps we can take to make our homes safer, our vehicles safer, and our communities safer."