The importance of storing your firearms safely as a gun owner

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:26 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Leaders call on all gun owners to be extra vigilant following the second shooting in the past two weeks involving an unattended gun, and a 6-year-old child.

Just this past Sunday, a 6-year-old boy picked up an unguarded firearm that went off and hit a 28-year-old woman. While investigators say she will be okay, a separate but similar incident involving an unsupervised weapon, left the child dead.

“It becomes incumbent on the adults in that situation, to be thinking of all the what if’s,” said Durand Police Chief Michael Reiman. Now more than ever, law enforcement officials emphasize the key of thinking about those “what ifs” when it concerns gun safety.

“It’s not just a purchase on a firearm, you have to understand what you have,” said Stephenson County Sheriff Steve Stovall. “It’s up to you to make sure that the weapons stay safe, if you have little kids you have to understand the dos and don’ts.”

Having a gun is a responsibility Sheriff Stovall carries with him every day. But Stovall knows the duty that comes with concealed carry, isn’t exclusive to law enforcement.

“Even if it’s a simple basic safety course,” said Stovall. “If you understand a little bit about the safety of a firearm, that’s going to pay dividends.”

Both Reiman and Stovall believe vigilance begins with training and knowing how to properly lock your weapons away. However they say gun safety doesn’t end there, and it’s important to set ground rules if other firearm owners plan to carry a weapon into your home.

“I would really advocate for some kind of really secure situation like a safe,” said Reiman. “You should have some rules in place, whether you allow them or lock it up, or just have them know the rules.”

Stovall says there are several organizations in the Stateline that provide lessons on gun safety, and it’s crucial to do before purchasing a weapon. The city of Rockford is also handing out firearm lock boxes for gun owners as a way to store weapons.