Columbus City Council has announced a joint initiative with the Columbus Division of Police, Division of Fire and Columbus Public Health to distribute 5,000 gun locks, free-of-charge, to Columbus residents.
“As guns unfortunately continue to flood the streets of our City, the initiative, “Love Our Children, Lock Your Guns,” aims to deter theft and decrease the chances of children getting a hold of their parent or guardian’s firearm,” they said in a joint statement.
“We are all aware that the number of gun-related incidents among young people has increased,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown.
“In the last year, there were several incidences of children being injured by another child due to the improper handling of a firearm.”
Back in March, a young boy found his father’s firearm in between the cushions on their couch and shot it off in the house. This event scared both children in the room and put their lives in immense danger. According to a recent study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 92% of the firearms used in accidental youth shootings were stored loaded and unlocked. Children ages 1-19 are the main victims of this tragic violent trend.
The first six months of 2021, resulted in 99 Columbus residents losing their lives, 92.1% of those deaths being a result of gun violence. Alarmingly 31.7% of the victims and 37.5% of the suspects have been under the age of 22. While we believe a number of the guns involved in these shootings have been ill-gotten, we would like to think that if the weapons were stored properly or disabled by using a gun lock, there would be fewer weapons available to commit gun-related offenses.
“With a gun lock or box, you can rest easy knowing that your gun is securely locked away, but easily accessible in case of an emergency,” said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy, chair of the Public Safety Committee. “Knowing your guns are properly secured will provide you peace of mind knowing that our children are safe at home.”
The gun locks being purchased are made from a braided steel cable with a keyed padlock. Gun locks provide another level of safety by securing guns when not in use. We say, “Love our children,” because protecting our youngest and most vulnerable residents is the business and responsibility of us all. We say, “Lock your guns,” because as a gun owner, it is your responsibility to properly handle your firearm.
“This is a proactive step to changing the narrative of young people continuing to injure and killing other young people with firearms,” said Brown. “We are in a race to stop this tragedy from recurring again. Love our children; lock your gun.”
These gun locks are available to all Columbus residents. They can be picked up at all Columbus fire stations between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The public can Jose Rodriguez “For more information regarding this project “Jose Rodriguez at JRRodriguez@columbus.gov or Nya Hairston at NAHairston@columbus.gov. You can also find more at www.columbus.gov/gunsafety.”
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