Today, Congresswoman Ross participated in a House Judiciary Committee field hearing on victims of violent crime. Republicans held this hearing as a part of an ongoing effort to politicize crime in major U.S. cities. In her remarks, Congresswoman Ross focused on real solutions to combatting crime, including the implementation of safe storage laws and other smart gun violence prevention policies that will save American lives. 

Click here to watch and download her remarks

Congresswoman Ross asked: “I want to share a recent example from a suburban neighborhood in my district Hedingham. In October of 2022, Hedingham experienced a mass shooting. The shooter was a 15-year-old who took a firearm, that he used to kill five people, from his family home. And it was left unsecured.

“In North Carolina, guns are now the leading cause of injury or death for children surpassing car accidents. And one of the reasons for these this tragedy is the lack of safe storage. Same all across the country. 42% of the households in my state own firearms, legally owned firearms, but half of those households do not have safe storage. Nationally, 70% of school shootings are committed by children who have had unsecured guns in their home, 75% of unintentional shootings of children are committed with unsecured guns, and 80% of firearms suicides by children involved family weapons. In addition, thousands of unsecured guns are reported stolen in North Carolina and across the country threatening not only their families, but the communities where these guns end up proliferating.

My first question is for Doctor Abaya- How does safe storage factor to community violence intervention programs?”

Dr. Abaya responded: “Thank you for that question. So safe storage is incredibly important in any community violence intervention structure or ecosystem.

“Specifically, when it comes to children, we know that there's no circumstance under which a child should have access to a gun. So safe storage is a kind of fundamental component of anticipatory guidance for pediatricians who are engaging with children. There's great evidence that safe storage prevents accidental injuries, as you identified suicides, and I think that there is untapped promise for community violence, the unique nature of interpersonal violence that we see on the streets. Because, as you mentioned, unsecured guns can end up causing violence in a myriad of ways.

“Safe storage has been shown to be most impactful if you link education with device provision, and so programs like the one at CHOP [The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia] that help families by both giving them the information they need to keep their children safe and providing them with information about a specific device have been shown to be most effective. And there's also evidence that families are receptive to this messaging, especially when it comes from trusted voices like their care providers. So there's a lot of potential to increase safe storage specifically in protecting children.”