By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Bend-La Pine Schools has approved a Safe Gun Storage resolution in an effort to prevent gun violence in local schools.
School board members Caroline Skidmore and Amy Tatom co-authored the resolution and the rest of the board unanimously approved it last week.
Police have been preaching firearm safety for decades. Now, the district will send similar messages to the parents of 18,000 students.
“What this resolution will do is inform parents,” Skidmore said. “It will provide parents with information about why safe storage is so important. It’s not telling anyone what to do it’s simply providing information. I think that with information we can take action.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 80% of firearms used in school killings and suicides came from the perpetrator’s home or from friends or relatives. Had those guns been disabled or securely stored in lock boxes, some shootings may not have occurred.
“If it’s something that’s kept out of the reach of children and only accessible by an adult, or whoever has the actual code, that’s the best way,” said Bend Police Lt. Juli McConkey. “Keep the firearm away from the ammunition so it’s not easily obtainable by anybody else.”
The Bend Police Department offers free cable locks that prevent a magazine of ammunition from being put in a gun or the slide from moving and loading ammunition in a gun’s barrel.
“What this resolution will help with is not only help prevent school shootings, it will hopefully help prevent accidents happening at home with a firearm.” Skidmore said. “So, unintentional shooting from a child finding a gun at home. Also suicide by gun.”
Skidmore says she’s heard only positive feedback from gun owners to the school district’s safe storage resolution.
It directs the superintendent and staff to include safe gun storage information in the district’s safety plan.