Monday, November 9, 2015

Gun Safety, Play Dates, Mt. Lebanon School District, and PA HB 1168

The following appeared in the Washington Elementary Newsletter over the weekend:

Community News

 Having "The Talk" About Guns

Don't miss this important information from Mt. Lebanon Chief of Police Aaron V. Lauth:

Here's the schedule a play date for after school with your child's classmate. You've asked their classmate's parent the tough questions..."what time should I come pick them up?"... "should I send a snack?"...maybe even, "do you have an extra car seat so my child is safe and secure on the drive to your house?" Have you ever considered asking the parent if they have any unsecured firearms in their home?  It's not a question that is regularly thought of or one that is always easy to ask. Consider the following information and decide for yourself if this is an important question to consider asking.

With an estimated 270 million civilian-owned firearms in the U.S. -- nearly one for every man, woman, and child -- the odds are good that there's a gun (if not several) located someplace where your child spends time. If that fact doesn't give you pause, this one will: A study published inPediatrics found that nearly 1.7 million children under age 18 live with a loaded and unsecured gun in the house. It could be on a closet shelf, in a drawer, or under a mattress -- where a child can easily reach it. Yet few parents raise the issue of firearms before letting their kid play at someone else's home. "Most parents who own guns are responsible about keeping them locked, unloaded, and stowed away safely," says Beth Ebel, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. "Yet nearly 40 percent of gun-owning households with children have an unlocked gun to which a child might gain access."

Since 1988, the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has been promoting firearm safety in schools and youth groups as well as through law-enforcement agencies. Its main points: If you see a gun, 1. Stop. 2. Don't touch. 3. Leave the area. 4. Tell an adult. MLPD Crime Prevention Officers utilize and teach kids these key points during some of their safety lessons in the elementary schools throughout the district.

Unfortunately, research shows that most kids can't resist the lure of handling a gun, even after they've been warned repeatedly not to do so. "Children can recite what to do if they find a gun and still do the wrong thing when it counts," says Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D., professor of applied behavior analysis at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. As proof, he cites his studies published in Pediatrics, which showed that 4- and 5-year-olds who participated in verbal safety training didn't follow the correct procedure when they were left alone in a room containing a gun.

When scheduling that next play date, please consider asking about unsecured firearms. It could save your child's life.

Some additional resources on the topic can be found at the following links:
~Julie Toussaint, PTA President

Meanwhile, PA HB 1168 passed in the House (Dan Miller voted against it)  where every Commonwealth school district will be required to provide at no charge to the PA Game Commission a classroom for hunter education classes. The PAGC would supersede any activity occurring after school, evening, or weekend classes. PA HB 1168 was sent to the Senate on October 30, 2015.

Our commission will be voting to permit "sharpshooting" in Mt. Lebanon on January 23, 2016. We are sending mixed messages to our children. I pray that there will be no accidents.


Anonymous said...

Not sure how this relates to deer culling.

Anonymous said...

Timing for the gun talk is perfect. It will help the children to understand some of these blood trails that are appearing all over town.

Anonymous said...

Nov. 9, 1:43 --
I think the connection to the culling is that this advice is going out to parents about gun safety (subtext = guns are not safe), on the one hand, when, on the other, our municipality is voting to bring guns into the community and desensitizing our kids to them in the process.

Anonymous said...

I think this message is concerning. Although I entirely agree with Lauth that parents need to take these actions to keep their children safe (e.g., teaching about guns, making sure people don't have loaded weapons sitting around, etc.), I wonder what precipitated this message. In the past 9 years or so that I've been reading PTA notes, guns have never been mentioned.

Pittsburgh and SWPA does currently have a very serious gun violence problem that was recently featured in National Geographic's Drugs Inc episode entitled "Pittsburgh Smack". Smack is a nickname for heroin. I care about gun violence and heroin use not deer in my garden.

Anonymous said...

Here is the youtube link to "Pittsburgh Smack".

Anonymous said...

I know a fairly prominent Pittsburgh chef who for the past six, seven years has been running his own upscale catering business. He and his family live in Mt. Lebanon. He does a lot of business here (and other places, as well).

When a prospective client call this chef about catering an event at the client's house, the very first question the chef asks is, "Do you have any guns in your house." If the answer is yes, he turns down the job. Period. Smart guy, I think.

Anonymous said...

Having secured guns in your house and having unsecured guns in your house are two different things.

Anonymous said...

Having an unsecured gun in your house is very different than having a secure, unloaded gun. Don't know why anyone would turn down business from a responsible gun owner unless they don't believe in the 2nd amendment.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes people make mistakes and their secured gun becomes an unsecured, loaded gun. And a kid finds it. And the kid shoots it. It happens. It really does.

Lena Horne said...

12:01---the chef is not saying that people don't have rights to own guns. He is making a personal choice not to be in their company. The chef has a right to do that. So, stop being silly.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's silly to have a gun in your home for self defense. Did anyone see the news report of the mother who was breast feeding her child in her bedroom when a criminal broke in and shot her? Luckily she happened to have a loaded gun nearby and was able to shoot the intruder. That gun saved her and her baby's lives.