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SPS board adopts resolution on encouraging safe gun storage

Local gun safety advocates said this resolution marks the first school board in Washington state to adopt a safe firearm storage resolution.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Adam Swinyard said no specific event prompted this district conversation, but did acknowledge local and national events have created more concern around student health and physical safety. 

“In the recent years, the topic of school safety, and the topic of firearm safety has been a really prominent aspect of the both local and national discourse. And our role in that is to share factual information,” Dr. Swinyard said.

According to the district, approximately 30,000 students walk through SPS hallways every day. This resolution could work as an additional measure to keep all 30,000 students safe.

Dr. Swinyard said an informed community is a part of a district's role.

It's building a really strong and safe and well informed community and we know as a public school system," Dr. Swinyard said. "We have a role to play in making sure our families are well informed.”

As a result, the school board unanimously adopted a resolution to encourage more awareness around secure storage of firearms.

A big supporter of this decision is Petra Hoy.

"I’m really proud of the leadership of Spokane Public that we are the first district in the state to get this done,” Hoy said with a smile.

Hoy doesn't have children in the district, but she does fall in GunResponsibility.org's 34% of Washingtonians who report owning a gun.

"We're gun owners," Hoy said. "We have to be responsible."

Hoy is an active member of Washington Moms Demand Action and Be Smart, a nationwide program that raises awareness around safe gun practices.

"That’s our humanity, right?," Hoy said. "That could have been our children. Maybe we can't even find Sandy Hook on a map, but as a mother, you get that mama bear vibe. That it's like that could be my child, that could be someone I know’s child.”

Another supporter of the resolution is Sharp Shooting Owner Jeremy Ball.

“My first reaction was, 'what an awesome idea,'" Ball said. "The next thing I did was, 'how can I help?'”

Of the 34% who own guns in the Evergreen state, only 36% of people living with a firearm in their house practice safe storage.

“We truly believe in the responsibility of gun owners to store firearms safely, especially when it comes to kids.” 

Ball said because of his profession, he's passionate about this discussion. But, he also has added interest in the safety of SPS students.

“We have a real vested interest in making sure our community stays safe, not just as a firearms retailer, but as a parent of one of the kids.” 

Ball believes proper gun storage could prevent the negative firearm usage effects and the conversation is important to begin at the district level.

Ball said if the district wants to work with him, he's ready to provide and finance firearm locks to all eligible parents and gun owners.

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