BeSMART for Kids – Secure Firearm Storage Saves Lives

Session Recording


The BeSMART presentation includes slides about national and local gun violence data and statistics to highlight the importance of secure storage practices.

BeSMART is an acronym that provides education and information for caregivers, who may or may not be firearm owners, about reducing child access to guns. Using data from Everytown for Gun Safety and the Vermont Department of Health about firearm storage safety and firearm-related deaths, we will go through the SMART acronym and highlight five ways to empower caregivers. Slides include data about the sheer volume of guns in the United States to show that access to lethal means should be a concern for all caregivers. Additionally, we show examples of events in which the BeSMART team connects with local community members as we work to spread the message about secure firearm storage.

The BeSMART secure storage message is only as impactful as the partnerships we make and the communities we reach. We have resources to support community partners who are doing the work of gun violence prevention and suicide prevention around the state. The presentation will include an example of handouts and information that can be provided to community partners to make available to their organizations.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants should be better able to:

  1. Understand the impact of guns as lethal means.
  2. Receive a brief overview of current gun laws in Vermont.
  3. Learn five ways caregivers can reduce childhood access to firearms.

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Co-Lead Vermont Chapter of Moms Demand Action

Eileen Barendse is a former educator, current Co-Lead of the Vermont Chapter of Moms Demand Action, and the State Lead for the BeSMART program. 

As an educator and mother, Eileen became discouraged by the response to nationwide gun violence in schools and mass shootings. After joining Moms Demand Action in the summer of 2022, Eileen began learning about the alarming reality of gun violence in America and the role of guns in suicide deaths in Vermont. Through the BeSMART program, Eileen can reach caregivers nationwide and educate them about the importance of secure firearm storage as a lifesaving practice.

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