Every day in the U.S., 8 kids are shot by a misused or unlocked gun. Gun sales were at a 20-year high this past summer, and with coronavirus lockdowns keeping more kids at home, the number of deadly unintentional shootings by children is rising. To illustrate how critical proper gun storage is, as families are spending more time at home, States United To Prevent Gun Violence has tapped into the cultural phenomenon of unboxing videos by launching a PSA with a fictional eight-year-old influencer, Cayden.
Unboxed opens like any other popular toy unboxing video. Cayden is in his parents’ bedroom, excited to show off something new for the camera. Except instead of revealing a toy, Cayden unboxes the semi-automatic pistol his parents keep in their closet. As he enthusiastically shows it off for the camera—playing with it, loading it, drawing back the slide—he unwittingly puts himself in serious danger.
See the film here
Nationwide, there are currently 4.6 million children who live in homes with an unlocked gun. This States United To Prevent Gun Violence PSA urges parents across America that if a gun is unlocked, it can be unboxed and this preventable mistake could lead to a parent’s worst nightmare: their child handling a loaded gun, like Cayden in his unboxing video.
“Parents who own guns need to take every precaution when it comes to gun storage,” says Clai Lasher-Sommers, Executive Director of States United To Prevent Gun Violence. “3 in 4 first and second graders know where their parents keep their gun, and 1 in 3 admit to handling the weapons. Guns need to be locked to prevent children from accessing firearms and to drastically decrease the chances of unintentional shootings.”
“As a parent and storyteller, I’m in a very unique position to approach my stories from the point of view of a guardian who cares deeply about protecting the innocence of children. No child should have to lose their life or deal with the guilt of having accidentally taken a life because of the unsafe storing practices of adults,” believes Kevin Wilson Jr., the director of the PSA, and an Oscar Nominated and Student Academy Award Winning Filmmaker. Wilson received a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied under Spike Lee.
The PSA, along with gun storage safety guidelines for parents and gun safety education for kids can be found on https://supgv.com/safety/.
PREVENT AN UNWANTED UNBOXING
Unintentional injury and death is preventable. If you own a gun,take these easy steps to protect your family and prevent these avoidable tragedies.
Keep it unloaded
Make sure that your gun is completely unloaded before putting it away. If the gun is semi-automatic, ensure there’s not a round still in the chamber.
Keep it locked
A lock on the gun itself (whether on the trigger, or a cable through the action or barrel, or both) will ensure it does not fire, which removes the biggest danger of an accidental discovery. Many local police or sheriffs’ departments can give you one for free.
Keep it away
Placing your gun in a locked case, locker, or safe is another good way to keep your children safe from an accidental discovery – doubly so if there’s a lock on the gun itself. The less accessible the case or box is to children, the better. Remember the lengths you used to go to find your presents? Use that as your guide.
Keep them separate
Ammunition should always be kept in a completely separate location from the gun itself and locked up as well.
HAVE THE TALK – GUN SAFETY EDUCATION FOR KIDS
It’s important for children to understand what they should do if they find a gun. Keep in mind that even if you don’t own a gun yourself, there’s a 1 in 3 chance that the family of your child’s friend will. When encountering a gun, these 4 steps may save your child’s life:
Why stop? Because in the excitement of finding a gun, it’s crucial to slow down so you can remember what to do next.
Let your child know that they should never touch a gun without an adult supervising them. Ever.
If the gun isn’t in front of your child, they won’t be tempted to pick it up. Tell them to leave the room like it’s filling up with hot lava.
Tell a Grownup
If the gun belongs to you or someone you know, lock it up someplace safe and contact the owner. If you don’t know where the gun came from, leave it be and call the police immediately.
About States United to Prevent Gun Violence: States United to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer. We are working to decrease gun death and injury and build healthy communities by supporting and strengthening 32 state gun-violence-prevention organizations and nurturing new state organizations. Find out more about States United and our state affiliates at: www.supgv.org
This PSA is a pro bono effort from Grey New York.