Anti-gun violence group stresses proper firearm storage

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 12:37 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - GunSense Vermont, a non-partisan group that works to keep Vermonters safe from gun violence, is looking to change the conversation around gun violence prevention by focusing on safe storage.

At a panel discussion on Thursday, the group focused their conversation on educating gun owners about their responsibility to safely secure guns in their homes to keep them out of the hands of kids, thieves, and anyone looking to cause harm.

According to GunSense Vermont, a properly stored firearm is one that is unloaded, separate from the ammunition, and locked in a safe.

Dr. Becca Bell of the UVM Children’s Hospital says recent data reveals 40% to 50% of Vermont households have at least one firearm inside, and gun owners who are worried about a home intrusion are less likely to store all of their weapons properly. The group says easy access can lead to theft, injury, or death. “It’s firearm suicide in Vermont that is higher than the national average among adults and among young people,” said Bell.

For gun owners who are concerned about home defense, Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, the deputy director of the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, suggests getting a quick-access safe that can be bolted to the side of their bed. “I have one. My husband and I are gun owners,” Crifasi said. “I have one safe bolted to my bed frame. I’m the only one who knows the code. If something were to happen, I could get into that very quickly.”

They want to see states implement policies that require prospective gun buyers to get a license before purchase. That process involves a background check at the federal, state, and local levels. They’re also pushing for sufficient funding for community-based prevention programs.

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