Do you have a gun in your home? Is it locked away from children? Is the ammunition stored separately?
Those are the questions pediatricians are being urged to ask their patients today. Every first day of summer is national ASK Day, which stands for Asking Saves Kids -- a way to bring attention to the fact that an estimated 40 percent of American households with children have guns and 88 percent of children who are victims of unintentional shootings are shot in their own home, or the home of a relative or friend.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has called guns in the home a health threat to children, and yet asking a parent about guns has somehow become a question of politics rather than safety. Being asked by a doctor is a small step toward bringing the subject back where it belongs. And maybe it will empower parents to start asking it of other parents -- which is the broader purpose of the day.
“Before I allow my child to over, may I ask if there is a gun in the house?”
Maybe one day the conversation will be as common as the ones parents are already having when they drop children off to play. A conversation about food allergies. And electronic use. And whether the dog is friendly.
Just a routine question. That could save a life.
So observe National ASK Day, by asking.
Then observe it again tomorrow, too.
Do you have a gun in your home? Do you ask other parents if they do?