ASK Day: Addressing A National Crisis

Growing up, there was always a certain list of questions that went along with asking a parent if you could hang out at a new friend’s house:

“What are their parents' names?”

“Where do they live?”

“Is there going to be an adult present?”

“How well do you know this friend?”

However, a question that supersedes these in importance is asked much less frequently, and it is one that could help parents better protect the lives of their children:

“Are there any unlocked firearms in the house?”

According to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, close to a third of American minors are reported to have a gun in their household. Over 17,000 children are injured or killed annually by these guns, and that’s just getting started with how gun violence, whether intentional or not, affects the United States on a daily basis.

This one piece of a growing list of demographics affected by guns is a statistic that is applicable to all Americans. Some argue that gun violence is not a health concern or danger that should be addressed, or shockingly, even applicable to themselves. Whether or not you have been a direct victim of gun violence, you or someone you could know could potentially be one of the 100,000 daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, friends, teachers, or family members who are killed by a firearm each year. This widespread epidemic of people who unreasonably die due to gun violence is a national health concern - a concern that the youth of America refuse to ignore.

Today, June 21, is National ASK day.

ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day is a campaign to spread awareness about this facet of gun violence that is not brought to light as often as it should be. The campaign stresses that a simple question could help protect many of the seven children who are killed daily as a result of gun violence, according to the Brady Campaign.

Each of us has a voice, and a way to use that voice. Being educated and active within our communities and polls is essential to helping prevent tragedies such as Pulse, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Columbine, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. As young leaders, voters, and students, it is our responsibility to champion for our safety when the ones in power choose to idly stand by.

The ASK campaign is just one way that we can instill change in local communities and protect the ones that we love. Even if it feels awkward to ask if there are firearms present in the house, taking a necessary precaution is better than any alternative.

If you want to take a stand and push for Washington to create gun laws that truly protect and regulate gun control, you can register to vote at this link for the upcoming midterm elections that will possibly change the direction in which lawmakers want gun reform to move (which, essentially, is nowhere). 

Your voice matters. To learn more about ASK day or the realities of gun violence and how you can make a change, check out Her Campus Harvard's article about the campaign! You can also visit The Brady Campaign website here.

All images provided by the author