Striking gun control PSA shows how safe storage can prevent suicide
As rates of suicide by firearm skyrocket in the U.S., a new short film allows seven people to share their stories of how proper gun storage saved their lives.
According to Pew Research Center data, 63% of gun owners in America have at least one unlocked firearm within reach of children and other vulnerable residents. Meanwhile, access to a firearm triples the risk of death by suicide.
To raise awareness about the link between gun access and suicide, Ad Council and gun control advocacy group Brady today jointly released a national public service announcement entitled ‘Safe Stories.’
In the documentary-style film, seven people from across the country recount the times they almost lost their lives to self-inflicted gunshots (the leading cause of firearm deaths in America) and how they were saved thanks to guns that were stored properly, which Ad Council describes as locked, unloaded, and away from ammunition.
Safe Stories marks the latest addition to Ad Council and Brady’s ongoing ‘End Family Fire’ campaign. The effort aims to encourage safe gun storage in homes by educating the public about “family fire,” a term developed for the campaign to describe shootings caused by someone having access to a gun in a home when they shouldn’t have it. This includes children and those who might harm themselves or others.
Now in its fifth year, End Family Fire was not only rated the only effective national safe storage education effort by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), but it has also been proven successful at changing public attitudes and behaviors surrounding gun usage and storage. An Ad Council study conducted this year found that 74% of respondents who are aware of End Family Fire’s gun suicide prevention PSAs agree that storing their guns locked and unloaded reduces the risk of someone dying by suicide in their home, compared to 56% of those unaware.
“We can’t legislate our way out of America’s gun violence epidemic. As with PSA campaigns and public education efforts on seatbelts and smoking, we must model safer norms and behavior around firearms and their safekeeping,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady, in a statement. “Data shows that End Family Fire is resonating with gun owners, and the result is countless lives saved.”
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The new campaign comes as gun suicide rates have reached a record high, with the largest one-year increase in over 40 years and accounting for more than half of all firearm deaths. In the U.S., 67 people a day die by gun suicide, more than those lost to firearm murders and unintentional shootings combined.
As part of the campaign, creative and media agency dentsu created pro-bono a digital book that details the stories of the seven individuals in the film, while also providing information and resources on safe gun storage, at EndFamilyFire.Org.