Los Angeles — Citing potential safety threats caused by unsecured firearms, the Board of Education voted unanimously today to educate parents about proper gun storage and their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms in their home.
The resolution authored by Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson requires parents to sign a letter each year acknowledging their understanding of their firearm storage responsibilities and provides that school-site staff be trained in how to detect and prevent gun violence. The measure was co-sponsored by Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III and Board Vice President Nick Melvoin.
“Families can prevent a tragedy by following the law and making sure that firearms in the home are secured,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said.
“As school board members, we have a profound responsibility to address the all-too-frequent school shootings that we are witnessing in modern America,” Board Member Schmerelson said. “Nearly 70% of student shooters gained access to a lawfully purchased gun from their residence or the residence of a relative, 87% of kids know where their parents’ guns are kept and 60% have handled them. Over 80% of teens who commit suicide with a gun used one that belonged to someone in their home, and guns are the third leading cause of death for kids. I am hopeful that the measures called for in my resolution will better educate parents and guardians about their legal obligation to safely store firearms.”
“We know that parents are always a child’s first teacher, but current times dictate that we elevate the conversation about gun safety,” Board Member Dr. McKenna said. “We all have a responsibility to take all precaution to keep our children safe.”
“The safety of our students is one of our top priorities, and awareness about gun storage can save kids’ lives,” Board Vice President Melvoin said. “Even if Congress refuses to legislate on common-sense gun control, Los Angeles Unified will do what we exist to do – educate our families.”
“Safety is our highest priority in Los Angeles Unified, and we have led many efforts within the past two years to deepen our work on student safety,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “I look forward to continued partnership with the city around safe passages and other efforts to ensure our students are safe and secure in schools and our communities.”
The measure also received the backing of civic and community leaders.
“It’s the legal obligation of every parent who owns guns to store them safely,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “I applaud Board Member Schmerelson for authoring, and his fellow Board Members for passing, this very important measure to save students’ lives.”
“Women Against Gun Violence, a non-profit working for over 25 years in Los Angeles County to prevent gun violence, is excited to support the resolution to distribute safe gun storage information to parents and caretakers,” said Donna Finkelstein, a board member for the organization. “Safe gun storage saves lives.”