Gun violence prevention starts with public awareness -- about safe storage, Extreme Risk laws, background checks, and more -- and public awareness requires outreach.
Enter social workers. The estimated 640,000 social workers across America help clients in some of the most vulnerable situations cope with physical, mental, and environmental challenges. As part of this service, they are uniquely positioned to prevent incidents of gun violence by providing safety recommendations on how to securely store guns in the home.
To support these important public health and safety advocates, the Brady Campaign has partnered with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the largest association of social workers in the United States, to release a joint briefing on tools for social workers to prevent gun violence to NASW’s 130,000 social worker members. These recommendations include specific guidance on asking clients about the presence of guns in the home, and on how to counsel clients on the safe storage of guns.
Discussions of firearms in the home are sometimes considered potentially challenging for health and safety professionals like social workers and doctors, who are not always accustomed to discussing the topic. Broaching secure storage of guns in the home as a safety issue, on par with childproofing the home environment for toddlers or changing the batteries in a smoke detector, is often the best way to introduce the topic. With 4.6 million children in America growing up in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun, and 8 children shot each day in incidents of Family Fire - unintentional injuries or deaths due to unsecured guns in the home - social workers’ outreach on safe storage couldn’t be more urgent.
In addition to information about safe storage outreach, the briefing covers Brady and NASW’s commitment to the following gun violence prevention priorities:
- Extreme Risk Laws: ERPOs, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, serve as an important tool to keep persons in crisis from harming themselves and others.
- Background Checks: Background checks for every gun purchased in America will keep guns out of the hands of those who should not access them, preventing gun violence injuries and deaths.
- Crime Guns: Transparency in tracking crime guns and holding gun dealers who sell them accountable for negligent sales practices is crucial in reducing gun violence in our communities.
- Assault Weapons Ban: Assault weapons have been used in nearly every major mass shooting of the modern era. The renewal of an assault weapons ban is an important step in preventing the loss of life from gun violence.
Brady and NASW have plans to engage in additional joint outreach work in the future, including an upcoming webinar to present the details covered in the briefing. Boosting support for the dedicated outreach workers who promote health and safety of clients around the country will help us prevent the gun violence injuries or deaths of tomorrow -- and the future to come.