Legislation Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera and Annette Chaparro sponsored to help prevent gun deaths and injuries among New Jersey’s children recently was signed by the governor.
The measure (AJR-37) designates June 21 of each year as “ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day” to promote children’s health and gun safety. The resolution, which stemmed from a larger joint effort coordinated by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, encourages parents to ask whether their child’s friend has an unlocked gun in his or her home before allowing their child to visit the home.
“Too often, parents find out that their child’s playmate had a firearm in the house only after a tragic accident,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “A simple conversation between parents has the potential to save children’s lives.”
An estimated 7,710 children in New Jersey live in homes where there are unlocked, loaded firearms, and 80 percent of unintentional firearm deaths of children under 15 years of age occur in a home, the sponsors noted.
“Many parents may not realize it, but the majority of children who live in a home where there’s a gun know exactly where to find that firearm,” said Chaparro (D-Hudson). “Parents have a right to know whether their child will be safe in another person’s home. Encouraging them to ask questions and then make an informed decision regarding their child’s well-being will advance public health and safety in New Jersey.”
The measure received approval from both houses of the legislature in June and was signed by the governor on Friday.