We live in a world with 24/7 access to entertainment. Whether it’s movies, television, video games, music, social media, or news, there is an abundance of content at our fingertips. And reflective of our society, guns are a prominent fixture across these entertainment industries.

We “kill” people with guns in video games every day. We watch movies and TV shows that “kill” people all the time, sometimes without blood and sometimes grotesquely violent. We have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of people “die” from guns. But it’s “only” a movie or video game, right? After all, no one really dies in entertainment. 

We have desensitized ourselves to feel safer around guns than we should. For children, their curiosity leads to picking up an improperly stored gun. For teenagers, it’s “cool” to play with or pose with a gun; after all, nothing will happen. Until it does.

The entertainment industries have accountability. They endlessly create and promote content that glamorizes guns with massive amounts of death and destruction. Do we need to get rid of these forms of entertainment? No. But let’s start to incorporate responsible gun ownership when it is appropriate. Let’s reinforce safe storage when children are in the home. Let’s have characters that model responsible behaviors around guns. Let’s show parents asking other parents about the presence of unsecured guns in the home. Let’s recognize the role of guns in suicide. Let’s Be Smart for Kids in entertainment.

Other countries have the same entertainment we do. What children and teens in those countries do not have is easy access to firearms. This is not about taking away guns, as the Second Amendment is part of the US Constitution. But requiring that homes with children under 18 properly store their guns should be common sense. We require children to ride in car seats. We require people to wear seat belts in cars. We require people to not drive when consuming alcohol. What do these laws have in common? They all save lives!

We know better. It’s time to do better.