Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new executive actions to help promote safe storage of firearms that implement President Biden’s Executive Order on promoting safe gun storage in order to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.

Gun violence is the leading cause of death of children in America. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration is taking comprehensive action to prevent gun violence affecting children. Approximately 4.6 million children live in homes with unsecured firearms. Studies show that safe storage can dramatically reduce children’s risk of self-inflicted harm and unintentional shootings.

Safe storage of firearms can physically prevent youth from accessing firearms, helping to keep youth, schools, and communities safe from gun violence. Unsecured guns are also closely associated with school shootings, youth suicide, unintentional shootings, and theft of firearms.

  • 76 percent of school shootings are committed with guns from the home. The Department of Homeland Security’s National Threat Assessment Center reviewed targeted school violence over the past 40 years and found that three-quarters of school shooters acquired their firearm from the home of a parent or close relative.
  • 80 percent of firearm suicides by children (age 18 or younger) involved a gun belonging to a family member. The firearm suicide rate among children and teens has increased by 66 percent over the past decade.
  • 76 percent of unintentional shootings of children were committed with unsecured guns from the home, most often stored in nightstands or other sleeping areas. From 2003 to 2021, 1,262 children (0-17 years) were killed by fatal unintentional firearm injury, with approximately half caused by another person.
  • Over 1 million stolen firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) reported that from 2017 to 2021, local law enforcement reported 770,642 private theft incidents involving 1,026,538 firearms. A rising trend has been firearms stolen from unattended motor vehicles.

New Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Save Lives

Local leaders, like school officials, community and faith leaders, and law enforcement can be trusted, credible messengers when it comes to providing guidance on gun violence prevention and safe firearm storage options. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing three actions to help further promote safe storage and protect children:

  • The U.S. Department of Education will take new action on safe firearm storage by sending a letter to school principals across the country explaining the importance of safe storage and encouraging them to communicate with parents, families, caregivers, and the broader community about how safe storage can protect students in school and in their communities.
  • The U.S. Department of Education will also issue a new communications template that principals and school leaders can use to engage with parents and families about the importance of safe firearm storage, and encourage more people to take preventive action by safely storing firearms.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will release a guide to safe storage of firearms in order to provide subject matter expertise on different types of storage devices and best practices for safely storing firearms. This is the most comprehensive guide on safe storage ever released by the federal government.

To highlight these new actions, First Lady Jill Biden, White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention Director Stefanie Feldman and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will join a town hall with school principals at the White House. The town hall will elevate the importance of safe firearms storage and emphasize the role that principals and education leaders can play in helping prevent gun violence. A livestream of the town hall is available here: School Principals Town Hall with the Office of Gun Violence Prevention & the Department of Education – YouTube

Building on a Record of Action to Promote Safe Storage of Firearms

These new actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to promoting safe storage of firearms, including:

  • The Administration’s launch of an unprecedented focus on lethal means safety in the White House strategy to reduce military and veteran suicide, with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also launching the first of its kind paid media campaign, to highlight the importance of firearm safe storage in preventing veteran suicide. The Department of Defense (DoD) also released new evidence-informed communication tools, including a public service announcement, to encourage safe storage among military service members and their families.
  • The issuing of a new ATF final rule clarifying firearms dealers’ statutory obligations to make available for purchase gun storage or safety devices compatible with the dealer’s firearm inventory.
  • The publishing by ATF of an open letter to all federal firearms licensees on their legal obligations if they choose to provide temporary storage options on their premise.
  • The DOJ announcement of new grant funds available through its STOP School Violence Program for schools to promote awareness of safe storage.  The DOJ’s Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program made grant funds available for law enforcement to acquire gun locks and storage devices that can be distributed to individuals and businesses.
  • The release of a statement by the Assistant Secretary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration bringing attention to lethal means safety, and particularly safe storage of firearms, as a critical component of comprehensive suicide prevention efforts.
  • The publishing of a Vital Signs Report on Firearm Safety by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) highlighting the growing disparities in firearm violence, including firearm-related suicide and emphasized the importance of lethal mean safety. CDC also published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examining unintentional injury among children and teens that emphasized the role of unsecured firearms and how safe storage can prevent harm.

The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to take action to promote safe storage and calls on Congress to assist these efforts by passing a national safe storage law to create accountability for those who leave firearms unsecured. In addition, the Administration is working with state and local leaders on safe storage efforts.

In December, Vice President Harris, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs convened 100 state legislators to announce the Biden-Harris Administration’s Safer States Initiative to reduce gun violence and save lives. The Administration urged states to enact and implement strong laws requiring firearms owners to safely store their firearms in their homes and vehicles. The laws should impose a clear standard to penalize those who do not safely store their weapons and whose weapons end up being used for violence.

  • States were also encouraged to invest in efforts that raise awareness of the range of safe storage options available to keep guns out of the hands of children and unauthorized individuals, and fund individuals’ access to effective storage options through tax incentives and other programs.
  • In addition, the Department of Justice published model safe storage legislation to help states craft appropriate requirements for securing firearms kept in residences and vehicles and to ensure that those firearms do not fall into the hands of children, teens, and prohibited persons.

While safe gun storage is an important factor in curtailing death and injuries among children, the Biden-Harris Administration, through the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and other grant programs, has also provided unprecedented funding to establish safe, healthy, and supportive learning opportunities and environments; to increase access to school-based mental health services; and to strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-need communities. These historic investments provide greater access to the services and supports that help keep students safe and healthy. These investments help advance the President’s Mental Health Strategy, which directly implements his Unity Agenda for the nation by helping to tackle the mental health crisis.


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