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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Campaign urges parents to ask about guns in playmates’ homes

Seattle anti-gun violence advocates on Wednesday launched a campaign to encourage parents to ask about the presence of a gun before allowing their children to play at a friend’s home.

The yearlong ASK (Asking Saves Lives)-Washington campaign will include posters, print advertisements, social-media messages and the training of “a cadre of ASKvangelists” to promote the idea in the community, according to an announcement.

“Despite the very real dangers of guns in proximity to children, pro-active dialogue is complicated due to the often delicate nature of any conversation in this country involving guns,” wrote Frani Assaf, the executive director of Washington Ceasefire, in the announcement.

“The goal of the ASK program is to persuade parents that this conversation — to ensure that their kids play in a gun safe environment — is an essential parental responsibility.”

As evidence of the importance of the campaign, Assaf cited statistics showing that nationwide, 10 children a day are killed or injured in the home with a gun. More locally, Assaf added, a recent study by Public Health-Seattle & King County found that more than 5,000 county children live in homes with loaded, unlocked guns.

The public-health agency has endorsed the campaign.

The agency has also focused on gun safety. In November, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff John Urquhart unveiled a yearlong program to offer 10 to 15 percent discounts on some gun lock boxes, safes and trigger locks.

Wednesday’s announcement came one day after former Arizona Congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords, and her husband, Mark Kelly, testified at a Washington State House Judiciary Committee hearing in favor of expanding background checks so they would be required for all gun sales.

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: gun safety, parenting, public health

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