The fifth and final step in the Be SMART program is “T” Tell Your Peers to Be SMART. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Missouri. Every year in the United States, 350 children aged 17 and under gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. Nearly 700 more die by suicide with a gun each year. We have the power to prevent tragedies like these from happening, using the Be SMART program to help parents and adults prevent child gun deaths and injuries.
We know that we have a gun violence crisis in our country, and that our children are especially in danger. The Be SMART program is available to spread the word to your church and your community to help prevent unintentional shootings and youth suicides by educating adults about limiting access to firearms.
To recap, Be SMART stands for
- Secure All Guns in Homes and Vehicles
- Model Responsible Behavior
- Ask About Unsecured Guns in Other Homes
- Recognize the Role of Guns in Suicide
- Tell Your Peers to Be SMART
Remember, it is our job as adults to keep firearms out of the hands of children.
Your voice, and all voices are critical. How will you commit to Be SMART today? Try to think of at least THREE people with whom you want to share the Be SMART message as you read this. Do you have relatives or friends with young children who need to know this information? Do you have family or teens in your life who might have access to unsecured firearms in a moment of crisis? Are you a gun owner who secures your weapons but might not ask about it when your child goes to play at someone else’s house? Are there community groups or outside organizations that meet at your church that might benefit from hearing the Be SMART message? Remember, it is our job as adults to keep firearms out of the hands of children.
Want to learn more? Diocesan volunteers are ready to give a 20 minute Be SMART presentation to your church, Adult Formation, Children’s Formation parents, or any other group. A communications toolkit is ready for your use, full of social media and bulletin graphics, articles for your newsletter, handouts, and directions for how to share the message of Be SMART with your congregation. Contact Tara Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or visit the Peace & Justice Committee page on the Diocesan website.