Schools work hard to ensure that they are safe spaces for students to learn and grow. In order to prevent violence on campus, including shootings, many schools look to what options they have to help keep their communities safe. It is important for schools to communicate with families about firearm safety and safe firearm storage when children are in the home. Safe firearm storage is a leading way to prevent access to firearms by children or teens who might use them to harm themselves or others. Schools are uniquely poised to speak to caregivers about this important and potentially life-saving measure to help keep children and their communities safe.

Why is Safe Firearm Storage Important for Schools?

Safe firearm storage can prevent school shootings before they happen.

1 in 3 U.S. homes with children under 18 have a firearm and 45% of those homes have an insecurely stored firearm. In recent years, the number of school shootings across the country has been increasing. Evidence suggests that around 75% of school shooting perpetrators accessed their firearms from their home or the home of a close relative. Secure firearm storage prevents children from accessing household firearms and using them, intentionally or not, from harming themselves or others.

Firearm suicide and unintentional injury or death disproportionately affect children and teens.

Suicide is a growing crisis among children and teens. 22% of high school students in a national survey reported seriously considering suicide. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Americans aged 10-34. In the majority of youth firearm suicides, the firearm used was a parent or close family member’s, and over 80% of youth firearm suicides take place in the home. In cases of unintentional firearm injury and death, children are the most at-risk group. When both firearms and ammunition are stored safely, children have a 78% lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries and an 85% lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries. 

Schools are increasingly becoming a source of safe firearm storage information.

Schools and school districts are well-placed to share information with many-if not, most-firearm owners in their community who have children in the home. In recent years, an increasing number of school districts are talking to their students’ caregivers about safe firearm storage. As community fixtures, schools can also engage with other local organizations, including the municipal government or nonprofits, to spread awareness of safe firearm storage more broadly. Since over half of states have some form of a safe storage law, educating the community on safe firearm storage may be critical to ensuring that firearm owners are aware of best practices for firearm storage under law.  

Resource for School Administrators

This letter, created by the United States Department of Education, is a resource that principals and school administrators can use to provide parents and guardians information about safe firearm storage.

Provided by the DoED, this letter can be dowloaded and customized to a school’s individual needs and communication preferences. The template provides key information about firearm-related injuries and outlines the steps that schools, families, and communities can take towards prevention.

Safe firearm storage is one important tool to reduce the risk of firearm-related injuries in schools and communities. The letter raises awareness about the necessity of safe firearm storage and provides guidance on safe storage practices for families and community members.



Resources for Caregivers

These printouts are caregiver-facing materials which can be shared with school and community members who have children and teens in the home. These resources emphasize the importance of safe firearm storage when children are present, as well as go over several secure firearm storage options firearm owners can use to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Having Conversations About Safe Firearm Storage

It is important that families and caregivers have conversations with other households about firearm ownership and storage practices before a child enters the home. The resources listed below can be shared with caregivers and offer guidance on initiating and maintaining those conversations:

This article from John Hopkins School of Public Health offers guidance on starting conversations with other caregivers about the presence and storage of firearms in the home. The article provides tips on making these conversations more comfortable and approachable while still ensuring the safety and comfort of children when they enter another home.

This guide explains the importance of asking family, friends, and other community members about their firearm storage. Caregivers and other community members can also find tips on how to ask the questions that help keep kids safe.

This resource from the Be SMART Program offers suggestions on how to talk to young children and adolescents about firearm safety, explains the risk of unintentional firearm injury in children, and stresses the importance of safe firearm storage.

Related School Safety Resources

The Michigan School Safety Initiative promotes school safety and violence prevention in schools across Michigan. The intiative offers one-on-one support and technical assistance, evidence-based safety approaches, and educational resources for schools.

The National Center for School Safety seeks to improve school safety and prevent school violence. The center offers informational resources, guides, and training that can be adapted by schools and communities to promote school safety.

End Family Fire focuses on reducing firearm-related injuries that result from access to insecurely stored firearms in the home. This resource explains the role of safe firearm storage in the home, provides guidance on safe firearm storage options, and offers personal testimonies to the importance of safe storage. 

Sandy Hook Promise provides educational resources for students and educators to recognize warning signs of potential violence and offers prevention programs for schools that focus on fostering a safe and vigilant school community. is a government website that offers information on a variety of school safety topics, including targeted violence and threat assessment and reporting. The website provides access to educational resources, recommendations, and funding opportunities for schools and districts to promote safe communities.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you are experiencing a crisis, please text or call 988.

The content of this website is not legal advice and is only intended for general informational purposes. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.