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Dear Parent - Firearm Safety for Families by Guest Blogger, Mohammad Ali Abbass, MD

Dear Parent,

Thank you for taking care of me and thank you for trying to protect me but I must ask you a favor... please avoid having a gun in the house where I am using all my senses to discover everything around me, and if you decide that my safety entails you buying one, please read the following numbers:

· In 2019, there were 171 deaths related to firearms in the age group 0-19 years old in the state of Illinois.

· In the age group 0-14 years old there were 17 deaths in our state and 342 deaths in the United States overall.

· There were 7 unintentional firearm related deaths in the United States in the age group 0-19 years old, this number was 51 deaths in the age group 0-14 years old.

· In 2019, there was 172 suicide cases in the age group 10-14 years old in the United States.

You’re wondering why I am telling you all this, just like you want to protect me, I also want to protect myself from myself, I would rather use my curiosity exploring muddy puddles, new games and even go wildly painting on the walls. What I think I should never find is a gun, as I for sure will try to see how all those buttons work, or even mimic one of those action movie stars. And let’s presume you owned one, I mean at the end of the day, only you can decide how much my safety depends on the presence of a gun. I want to ask you for a favor, please try to secure the gun away from me. Use a lock box, leave the gun unloaded and please leave the ammunition locked away.

I know you think that under the pillow is safe but remember I know that the tooth fairy leaves me money there, or even under the bed- that’s where my cat likes to hide or even the drawer next to your bed, nana always has some candy there.

See, I told you, safe is not where you think is safe. Safe is where I can neither reach nor open.

Let me tell you a secret, I have spent the past 9 months thinking about this and I think I found the perfect solution. Why don’t you invest in an alarm system, the one that alerts the police and the security company if anyone is close to our house. Ok maybe it’s too much, why don’t we move to a different area where you don’t even need to spend your money on buying a gun, we can go buy candy with the money. Ok maybe I’m being unrealistic, I know you think my safety and existence depends on having a gun, so why don’t you invest in a lock box that only you have the key to, leave your gun unloaded and lock the ammunition away. Isn’t that what most professionals think is helpful. So please, protect me from myself.

Thank you for all your unconditional love,

Yours hopefully forever,

Please help us prevent unintentional fatal injuries due to firearms between ages 0-19 years old. Although we can do this by not keeping a gun in the house but if there is one, please ensure locking it unloaded, without ammunition in a lockbox.

Our children are our future and every life is worth saving.



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