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The Team Behind Smokey the Bear Has Launched Campaign to End Accidental Child Gun Deaths

The Ad Council was also behind the crash test dummy ads and McGruff the crime dog.

Ad Council

Every day in the US, eight children are accidentally killed or injured by family fire, meaning that the gun that harmed them came from inside their home. Now, the non-profit behind iconic slogans like “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” and “only you can prevent forest fires,” has linked up with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence  for a campaign to end accidental harm from firearms called “End Family Fire.”

The campaign got going on Wednesday and rather than focus on gun ownership, they’re putting an emphasis on safe gun storage. The term “Family fire,” is a play off of friendly fire which is when a person is killed by someone on their own side in the heat of battle. Family fire refers to shootings that result in injury or death and involve poorly stored or used guns found in the home.

“I understand that families own guns because they want to protect themselves,” said Hector Adames, the guardian of a child who was accidentally killed playing with a gun. “However, if you have an irresponsible gun owner in your neighborhood, your community isn’t safe.”

Even though the danger seems rather obvious, there are still over four and a half million kids who are currently living in homes with at least one gun that is both loaded and unlocked, and once young kids are involved, nothing is obvious. Not to mention, over 70 percent of kids who live in a home with a gun, know where that gun is.

The End Family Fire shows a little boy asking his father about the gun they keep in the house. As the commercial goes on his questions become a lot more pointed, going from asking “do we have a gun?” to him telling his father that he knows where the gun and bullets are. The child even rattles off a couple of ways that he could use it, in a subtle call back to the conversation surrounding school shootings. Still, the campaign is just the start and according to the Ad Council’s chief executive Lisa Sherman, longevity is key.

She told the New York Times: “We focus on issues for the long haul, and when we take one on, our focus is to stay at it until the issue goes away.”