by Marsha Vinson
Stem Center, South Florida Science Center May 11, 2019
reported by Marsha Vinson
An outstanding panel and discussion moderated by LWVPBC President Ken Thomas and organized by the LWVPBC Gun Safety Issue Group highlighted critical issues surrounding the safe storage of guns. The expert panelists providing the audience with an in depth, fact-packed view of the impact of safe storage on gun violence and gun deaths were: LWV of Broward County Gun Safety Issue Chair and Originator/Lock It Up -Barbara Markley, Dr. Monica Monahan, Suicide Prevention Team Lead, West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, and LWVPBC member/mentor for the Gun Safety Issue Group-Tom Gabor, a leading criminologist and author of Enough! Solving America’s Gun Violence Crisis. Barbara Markley recently was conferred with a US Congressional Commendation for her successful introduction of the LWV initiative, Lock It Up, in Broward County. Currently, the LWVPBC Gun Safety Issue Group with Barbara’s guidance, is developing a similar program in Palm Beach County: making presentations and creating partnerships with police departments, medical professionals/pediatricians, local educational institutions, and interested organizations. Dr. Monahan of the VA which is supplying the League with gun locks to distribute, urged the audience to take an active role in taking away the means for access to guns by remembering the acronym S.A.V.E (the VA Suicide Prevention Operation): look for the Signs of suicidal thinking, Ask questions, Validate the person’s experience, and Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help. Tom Gabor explained the value of adopting a sensible roadmap reflecting a set of measures to reduce gun violence instead of a piecemeal approach. His latest book has been described as a grassroots guide on how to solve gun violence and discusses why safe storage of guns is essential. The three panelists agreed that each League member has an important opportunity to educate the public and negate the impact the gun violence in our country.