A new campaign urges parents to ask questions about gun ownership before sending their child to someone else's home for a play date or sleepover.
Washington Cease Fire and ParentMap announced the "Just Ask" campaign Wednesday, calling it the most aggressive anti-gun campaign in their history.
Ralph Fascitelli, president of Washington Cease Fire, said the six-figure campaign will include 200 King County bus ads to start in March and full-page ads in ParentMap magazine featuring a young girl in a pink tutu reaching for a handgun.
"We've got a board member whose 12-year-old daughter found a gun in a neighbor's house and she ended up dying because of it," Fascitelli said. "If you're a parent, you certainly have a right to get all the information on your side to protect the safety of your child."
Gun rights activists call the campaign part of a nationwide effort to demonize guns and gun ownership.
"The second part of their campaign is to tell people, 'Don't send kids to people's houses that have guns,'" said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation. "They want to demonize gun owners so their kids can't play with our kids."
Gottlieb said both sides can agree that guns should be kept away from children.
"We're all for child safety and most gun owners take very great precaution when it comes to child safety," he said. "Gun owners are extremely cognizant of the fact that children and guns don't necessarily mix."
Alayne Sulkin, publisher and editor of ParentMap, said parents should not be afraid to ask neighbors if they keep a gun in the home. A mother of three, she said she has had the conversation before.
"You have to just ask," she said. "I don't mean to offend anyone, but I have to just ask 'do you have a weapon in your home?' That's OK if you do; I just need to know that it's safely stored."