Asking Saves Kids

According to Gun Violence Archive in 2021 alone, 573 teens aged 12 to 17 and 138 children aged 0 to 11 were killed with firearms. An additional 1,470 teens (12 - 17) and 349 children (0 - 11) were injured by gunfire.

” Family members…called 911 to report that he had gotten a handgun out from a bedroom end table and shot himself in the head, the sheriff’s office said.”

Deputies: 3-year-old dies after shooting himself in the head. KPTV News, October 9, 2020.

Gun purchases skyrocketed in Oregon and throughout the United States since the beginning of the pandemic. That means an increased risk of an unsecured firearm in a home where your family might visit this summer.

“Children and teens are far more likely to die from gunfire than COVID-19.”

Children’s Defense Fund and CDC Data 2020

Please remember to ASK if there are guns where your kids will be living, playing, or vacationing this summer. If guns are present, be sure they are stored responsibly, locked and unloaded with the ammunition stored separately. Firearms should be stored locked and unloaded with the ammunition stored separately.

What does the new Oregon law say?

  • SB 554, passed recently by the Oregon legislature, will not take effect until 91 days after the end of the legislative session (sine die). The bill will likely take effect in early October 2021.
  • SB 554 which requires gun owners to keep their firearms locked unless the gun owner is “close enough to the firearm to prevent another person who is not an authorized person from obtaining the firearm.”
  • If the gun owner is not expecting a minor in the home, the gun owner will not be held liable if a minor accesses the unsecured gun.

What about self defense? SB 554 specifically states in Section 3(4)(a) that the law does not apply in cases of self defense or defense of others.

Asking Saves Kids (ASK) is a national campaign that urges parents to ask if there is a gun where their children play. Guns can be found in 40% of Oregon homes, and many of those guns are kept loaded and unlocked.1 In the United States, nearly 1.7 million children under age 18 live in homes with firearms that are both loaded and unlocked.2 Nearly 8 children and teens in the United States are killed by firearms every day in the United States.3

The ASK Campaign gives parents something simple and easy to do to help keep their children from being injured or killed by gunfire.

Tips for ASKing

ASK with other questions

“Is there a gun at your house?” Include this question with other topics that you normally discuss before sending your child to someone else’s house, such as seat belts, allergies, animals, food, or television-viewing habits. The message is, “My child’s safety is important to me, which is why I ASK.”

Work with groups

Introduce the ASK concept through a community group, such as your religious organization or local parent/teacher group. The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation has speakers who are available to talk with your group.

Don’t be confrontational

ASK is not an anti-gun message; it is a pro-safety message! Present your concerns in a respectful manner. You are simply trying to make sure that your child is playing in a safe environment. Use literature like the ASK brochure to help open the dialogue.

Check out the resources listed below for more information:

Help spread the ASK message

Here are some ways you can help spread the ASK message throughout the year:

  • Request some free ASK brochures from the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation and start passing them out. Distribute ASK brochures at sporting events, music events, medical offices, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, faith centers, playgroups, PTAs, and other family-friendly locations.
  • Ask your healthcare provider to distribute ASK brochures.
  • Volunteer to help stuff envelopes with ASK brochures at our mailing parties.
  • Make a donation to the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation to support our ASK activities. The brochures cost 15 cents apiece, so your tax-deductible contribution of $15 will enable us to buy 100 ASK brochures.
  • Invite someone from the Ceasefire Speakers Bureau to make an ASK presentation to your community group.
  • Talk with your children about guns. Teach young children not to touch guns and to tell a trusted adult if they find one.

For the past few years in Oregon, the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation (COEF) has distributed ASK brochures to families and physicians across the state. We have also offered ASK presentations to local parent and community groups.

In November 2007, COEF joined with PAX, Inc., to launch the comprehensive Portland ASK Campaign. Billboards, transit advertising, and public service announcements reached thousands of Portlanders each day, raising community awareness about firearms in the home and linking the public to ASK resources and information. Education workshops, community events, and speaking engagements continue to reach parents on a grassroots level.

If you’d like to get involved in the Portland ASK Campaign, please contact the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation at 503.451.3630 or

ASK: Asking Saves Kids

  1. Data as of 2004. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Oregon data
  2.  American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2005
  3. Data as of 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System