January 24, 2022
Dear Parents/Guardians of San Francisco Students:
We are writing about an issue that directly impacts the health and safety of our children - gun safety and the prevention of gun-related injuries. According to Brady United Against Gun Violence, it is estimated that 4.6 million children live in homes with access to unlocked guns. In addition, in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that 75% of guns used in school shootings came from the home. American gun violence continues to be a national health crisis.
San Francisco school and law enforcement agencies are working together to keep our children and our schools as safe as possible. We are pleased to help inform our families about gun safety. We want to raise awareness and stop tragedies before they happen by asking you to follow the guidelines below:
- Store guns securely (locked in a gun safe, unloaded, with the ammunition locked separately);
- Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes (play dates, neighbors, family); and
- Recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and depression and speak up.
As a reminder, gun owners may be liable under California law if they do not properly store their firearms in a locked container or with a locking device. The End Family Fire website provides guidelines for families including how to store guns safely in the home. Secure gun storage options are readily available nearby and range from gun locks to fireproof gun safes that, when bolted to a structural wall, also stop theft. Free gun locks are available at the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, call 415-554-7225 for details.
Brady's Asking Saves Kids (ASK) website provides examples to help you have a conversation with friends and family about gun safety in the homes that are visited by your children.
If you are concerned about a friend or family member in crisis, please ask for help. Suicides are around 60% of annual gun deaths and a gun in the home makes it 300% more likely that someone living there will die by suicide. Without guns, less than 5% of suicide attempts are fatal, and most survivors never attempt suicide again. Guns don't give people a second chance. In an emergency, call 911. For a suicide crisis, call 800-273-8255. For domestic violence, call 800-799-7233.
Lastly, a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is a civil procedure allowing for the temporary removal of a firearm from a person in crisis. This San Francisco District Attorney webpage has more information. Do not attempt to remove weapons yourself. You can also contact your local police station for help.
Together, we can make sure our schools and communities are violence-free. If you have a firearm, thank you for ensuring that it is safely and securely stored.
San Francisco District Attorney
San Francisco Sheriff
Dr. Vincent Matthews
Superintendent of Schools