Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GAO Report Validates Brady Center’s ASK Program As Most Effective National Safe Storage Awareness Program

PTA Leaders,

We are pleased to share with you that National PTA President Jim Accomando was invited to bring the voice of families and child advocates to Capitol Hill in a press conference on gun violence with Senators Patty Murray and Ed Markey, Brady Campaign Co-President Kris Brown, American Public Health Association Deputy Executive Director Susan Polan and Injury Free Coalition for Kids Co-Director Dr. Mike Hirsh.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs and the need for increased funding for gun violence prevention research. The report found the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s ASK (Asking Saves Kids) program to be the most effective national safe storage awareness program.

President Accomando’s participation in the press conference was an important opportunity to demonstrate our association’s dedication to preventing and eliminating gun violence in schools, communities and at home to keep children safe. It was also an important opportunity to show our commitment to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence, as adopted during our 2017 Convention in Las Vegas through the amendment to our resolution on the Sale, Resale and Destruction of Firearms. Further, it was a critical moment to show our support for our partner the Brady Campaign and its ASK program.  

Please see below a press release on the GAO report with a quote included from President Accomando.

For Immediate Release
Contact: James Tyll, (202) 370-8131

GAO Report Validates Brady Center’s ASK Program As Most Effective National Safe Storage Awareness Program
Notes Discrepancy in Funding for Gun Violence Research Relative to Gun Violence Mortality Rates
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs, ultimately finding the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s “ASK” program to be the only national safe storage program that has been independently evaluated and found to be effective. The report, entitled “Personal Firearms: Programs that Promote Safe Storage and Research on their Effectiveness,” was prepared over a two-year period in response to a request by the Congressional HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee.
The report also points out that funding for gun violence prevention research is disproportionately low relative to health issues with comparative mortality rates. According to the report, government-funded research for gun violence is .7 percent of that for sepsis, which has a comparable mortality rate, and the publication volume for studies on firearm-related deaths is about four percent of that for sepsis.
Brady Campaign co-President Kris Brown heralded the release of the report. “The GAO’s findings confirm what we at Brady have long known—ASKing saves lives. Each day, seven children are killed by guns. 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. It’s crucial to know which programs work to spread awareness of guns in the home. At the same time, the report’s finding of the lack of funding of gun violence research relative to other health issues is alarming. Gun violence is an epidemic -- and we need to attack it like every other public health epidemic -- through research and data tracking to fund programs that work.”
The report evaluated 16 programs, both regional and national, that are aimed at spreading awareness of the importance of safe storage of firearms. Brady’s ASK campaign was found to be the only national program that effectively promotes awareness of safe storage through its parent-centered program that urges caregivers and parents to ask if there are guns safely stored in the homes where their children play. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, aimed directly at young children, was found to have no effect on participating children’s behavior around guns.
“Child and school safety starts at home. When families store their guns responsibly, they’re much less likely to end up in schools and tragedies are less likely to occur. It is critical that guns are kept safely away from kids and that we, as parents, ask if there are guns in the homes where our children play,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA is proud to support the ASK campaign and collaborate with Brady to help prevent gun-related incidents and keep children safe. The association is also committed to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence. In order to fully understand and address this epidemic gripping our nation, we need to first understand the causal relationships and the effects such violence has on our communities.”
HELP Senate Committee leaders lauded the report’s findings.
“There is so much we can and absolutely should be doing to address gun violence—but as this report makes clear, one simple, critical step is to gain a better understanding of how to encourage the safe storage of guns,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).“I’m hopeful that every Senator will take a close look at the findings in this nonpartisan report, and join Democrats, the Brady Campaign, and families nationwide in pushing for stronger investments in gun violence research.”
"If we want to stop this tragic scourge of gun violence, we need better information about what is causing it and what can be done to prevent it,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “We need to study gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. This new GAO report outlines how important it is to give the medical, scientific, and public health community the resources they need and support a federal research agenda into gun violence. I thank the Brady campaign for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make critical investments in protecting lives."
Brady’s ASK campaign, developed in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), raises awareness among parents about the importance of asking if there are guns where their children play, to ensure guns stay out of kids’ hands. The program also emphasizes the importance of medical and health professionals to talk to parents and patients about guns in the home, gun safety and safe storage. For more information about the program, visit

The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

National PTA Supports Families, Schools Impacted by Wildfires in California

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 13, 2017)—National PTA President Jim Accomando issued the following statement regarding the wildfires in Northern California:

“National PTA is deeply concerned for all of the families, schools, and communities affected by the wildfires burning in California. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies are with everyone impacted by these devastating fires.

“As following the recent hurricanes, we remain committed to doing everything we can to support the families and school communities affected and assist them in their efforts to rebuild and recover. We urge everyone to donate to our association’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was established to respond to tragedies that grievously disrupt a school or education system. One hundred percent of donations to the fund will go directly to PTAs and schools in need and will help provide important supplies for students and teachers when schools reopen.

“In addition to National PTA’s Disaster Relief Fund, California State PTA has teamed up with Redwood Credit Union, the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Senator Mike McGuire and The Press Democrat to establish the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. We also encourage our members to donate to the fund and/or the American Red Cross Canyon Fire 2 Relief Fund to support relief efforts and provide aid to those impacted by the fires.

Our country has endured unprecedented natural and man-made disasters the last couple of months. The need to give has never been greater and our mission at PTA has become that much more important.

We know we can count on our PTA members across the country to come together to help meet the needs caused by the wildfires and give our children and school communities what they need to thrive.”

National PTA President Jim Accomando shared information about the association’s Disaster Relief Fund live on Facebook. Visit National PTA’s Facebook page to view the video.

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information,

Media Contact
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA, (703) 518-1242