US Mum Urges for Gun Safety Awareness After Losing Son

Although mass shootings get more attention in the press, a US child’s wellbeing, and family wellness, is far more at risk in the home. A 14-year-old boy in Massachusetts learned this lesson the hard way when he accidentally shot his neighbour; 12-year-old Brain Crowell.

Brian’s mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident, explained, ‘He was going, “Click, click, click,”’ and pretending to shoot the gun, not knowing that the gun was loaded. ‘But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian’s neck.’ According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010.

Since losing her son, Crowell has devoted her life to gun safety and attended the State of the Union address in January as President Barack Obama’s guest. She noted, ‘I had never thought to ask about guns in the home,’ and now urges parents to ask whether there are guns in the home before sending their kids for play dates. ‘If I owned a gun, I wouldn’t be mad that someone asked,’ Crowell assures. ‘If you were going over for a play date to a house with a swimming pool, wouldn’t you want them to lock the pool gate? As a parent, you want to do anything you need to do to protect your child.’

Thomas McInerny, president of The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that paediatricians ask about guns in the home when taking a patient’s history. He commented, ‘It’s no different than when we ask about safety seats in the car or bicycle helmets, or the temperature of your hot water heater. We want to keep children safe. And most parents say they appreciate it.’

Gun safety awareness is also supported by the National Rifle Association, who run an Eddie Eagle GunSafe Programme in which 18 million children have participated. Spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said that the program teaches kids, ‘If you see a gun, STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.’ He added, ‘The one thing we always recommend is education. You have to teach your children that guns aren’t toys.’

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