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Elementary board concerned about gun safety

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

As the Supreme Court, legislators and President Biden weigh in on gun control, there is a local aspect that trustees of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District also feel is important. Gun safety.

At the request of Susan Liebes, board trustees at a recent board meeting discussed supporting a resolution supporting safe gun storage. After hearing her explanation of the need for the local action, the board unanimously approved the proposed resolution.

Liebes cited information from the New England Journal of Medicine that firearms were the leading cause of death of children.

“It’s not just the horrific massacres like the one in Uvalde, Texas,” she said, citing compelling statistics for safety:

• 350 deaths by unintentional shooting themselves or someone else

• 590 gun deaths by suicide

• 77% of shootings inside the children’s home

“There’s not much we can do as a school board because we don’t make the laws or regulations,” Liebes said. “Our job is education, but I think we should direct staff to send home information about existing state laws that require adults to safely store firearms.”

She noted that an estimated 4.6 million American children live in households that have at least one unlocked firearm.

“We live in a very rural community where a lot of people legally own firearms,” she said. I’m sure some of those kids live in Fallbrook.”

Liebes said that in incidents of gun violence on school grounds, 78% are by shooters under the age of 18 who are able to obtain their guns from their own homes or a relative or friends.

The board member added that research shows that secure firearm storage practices are associated with up to an 85% reduction in the risk of a self-inflicted or unintentional firearm injury among children and teens.

“It’s not a huge thing we can do because we’re a small district,” she said, “but it’s something we can do. If it can save one single injury in our community, it’s worth the cost.”

The district also received four letters in support of the resolution.

“You changed my mind,” said Caron Lieber, fellow board trustee. “I was ready to vote against the resolution, but I appreciate your research.”

Lieber also encouraged state legislation on gun safety. Board President Suzanne Lundin suggested contacting the Fallbrook Union High School District about the resolution since students of that age may be more vulnerable.

Superintendent Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez said a notice about gun safety will go to parents when registration information is sent this summer.


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