Jean Skorapa is the superintendent of RSU 5, which includes the towns of Freeport, Durham and Pownal.

Since 2018, there have been more than 100 school shooting incidents per year in our country, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database and those numbers have steadily increased. In addition, nearly 20% of all childhood deaths are caused by firearms. Proper firearm storage is one preventative action we can take to keep members of our school community safe. When firearms are stored safely, it can help prevent them from getting into the hands of children and teens, who may use them, intentionally or unintentionally, to harm themselves or others.

On July 1, 2021, the state of Maine amended the child endangerment laws to include unauthorized access to firearms for children under 16. The intention of the law is to protect children from death and injury from loaded firearms by enforcing the use of safe storage. Individuals found in violation of the law can face criminal charges.

Effective firearm storage practices include safely storing unloaded firearms and, separately, ammunition in a tamper-proof locked cabinet, box, safe, firearm vault or storage case that children or other unauthorized adults cannot access, and securing firearms using trigger locks or cable locks to prevent a firearm from firing.

Recognizing that safe firearm storage can help prevent and minimize the risk of firearm-related deaths and injuries, the RSU 5 Board of Directors adopted the Secure Storage Notification Resolution on June 15, 2022. RSU 5 remains committed to helping ensure the safety of our students and community. Together, we can help to reduce the risk that weapons get into the wrong hands and avoid the tragedy that shootings of any kind cause in the spaces in which we live, learn, work and play.

For more information on safe gun storage, see “Reducing Gun Violence” at the U.S. Department of Justice website, justice.gov.

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