By Carol Landale
Since the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., gun sales have been soaring. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been running roughly double the number of checks it was over the same period in 2019.
A missing fact amidst all this panic buying is that a gun in the home does not necessarily make you safer. The following statistics point to some of the dangers:
- 1,500 children are killed by guns every year.
- 51 percent of suicides involve a firearm.
- Abused women are 5 times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that abuser has a firearm
With mounting anxiety over the virus, children home from school and more guns in circulation; the risk of suicides, unintentional shootings and homicides is greatly increased.
Both new and experienced gun owners must heed the safe storage guidelines put out the NSSF and all gun-violence prevention organizations, as well as the San Diego City Municipal Code.
- Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case inaccessible to children.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
California’s Child Access Prevention (CAP) law holds a person criminally liable if he or she stores or leaves a gun where a child can access it. In San Diego the Safe Storage Ordinance requires all firearms to be stored safely, unless in the immediate possession of their legal owner (similar ordinances apply in Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas).
At this time of heightened anxiety, if you are concerned about the misuse of a firearm, you may find these resources helpful:
- End Family Fire
Family Fire is a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun in the home that results in death or injury. Unintentional shootings, suicide, and intentional shootings are all forms of family fire.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800 273 8255 or text TALK to 741-741
This crisis can be particularly difficult for those vulnerable to depression and loneliness, including those living with mental illness.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800 799 SAFE (7233)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
During this period of anxiety, heightened tensions, coupled with stay at home orders and physical-distancing, the potential to inflame domestic and intimate partner violence is increased.