White House launches gun safety initiative with first lady Jill Biden

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WASHINGTON — The White House is trying to enlist school leaders to help spread the word about the importance of safely storing firearms to protect children.

The new initiative is being announced Thursday at an event for school principals with first lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Also participating will be Stefanie Feldman, who runs the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

“We know safe storage of firearms can save lives, especially by reducing suicide by firearms and school shootings,” Feldman told reporters.

Guns are the leading cause of death for American children, and most guns used in school shootings are taken from the shooter’s home.

“I know that there are some parents who wake up every day, drop their kids off for school and while they’re watching their kids walk through that door, there’s just a little part of them that worries about gun violence during the school day,” Feldman said.

As part of the announcement, the Justice Department will release a guide to safe firearm storage, and the Education Department will distribute materials to schools that can be shared with families.

The administration has relied on initiatives like this one, which involves limited executive action and promoting voluntary measures, at a time when tougher gun control proposals are nonstarters in Congress.

There’s no federal law requiring gun owners to lock up their firearms, although the White House has encouraged such rules to be implemented at the state level.

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