Posted: December 18, 2021
Washington – U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) joined by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) on Wednesday led 15 Senate Democrats and 99 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in urging the U.S. Department of Education to raise awareness about secure gun storage following the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the lawmakers stressed the importance of the Department’s leadership in issuing best practices for school districts to inform parents about storing guns safely and away from kids.
“Recently, four students were shot to death at Oxford High School in Michigan, and another seven people were injured—including one educator. This shooting, like far too many others, was perpetrated with a firearm from the home, underlining the imperative that all gun owners – especially those around children – securely store their firearms,” the lawmakers wrote. “To prevent future tragedies, your Department should take bold action to raise awareness about secure gun storage by informing parents and school districts of its importance.”
The lawmakers continued: “[W]e have ignored a critical intervention to address the common element in the overwhelming number of these tragedies: easy access to guns in the home. The incident at Oxford High School adds to the overwhelming evidence that shows access to guns in the home is a critical intervention point. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) studied targeted school violence from 2008 through 2017 and found that 76 percent of school shooters used a firearm they took from a parent or close relative’s home. In nearly half of these shootings, the firearm was easily accessible or was not stored securely.”
“We urge you to direct the Department of Education to develop a strategy to encourage school districts to send parents secure firearm storage information and raise awareness about the importance of secure storage in keeping schools safe. Your Department can take action to give parents information about effective secure storage methods and provide guidance to schools about best practices on the methods to reach parents. These commonsense solutions cannot wait,” the lawmakers concluded.
A full copy of the letter can be found below and here.