To prevent gun violence, we must embrace safe firearm storage | Opinion

To prevent gun violence, we must embrace safe firearm storage | Opinion

Special to the USA TODAY Network On the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, President Joe Biden announced that he wants Congress to pursue several pieces of legislation, including universal background checks. The recent tragedies in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, have amplified this call for action. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has made firearm safety a priority, facilitating two firearm-focused legislative packages and creating the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. Even still, New Jersey cities have seen a surge in shootings over the past year, with Black and brown communities being disproportionally impacted. When policy makers consider how to tackle gun violence, their attention often focuses on addressing who can acquire firearms. An exclusive focus on managing future sales, however, overlooks the fact that the United States already houses more firearms than people and that 2020 saw an unprecedented surge in firearm purchases, including a more than 300 percent increase in permit applications in New Jersey. Startlingly, new research shows individuals who purchased firearms during this surge are more likely than others to have experienced suicidal thoughts. The hundreds of millions of firearms already in American homes are not subject to rules regulating sales, but they will play a role in future homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. So what can we do? Our best solution may be safe firearm storage. From the gun violence prevention perspective, safe storage means storing firearms unloaded, separate from ammunition, in a secure location like […]

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