Leaders say gun locks, safes can save lives

40% of accidental gun deaths happened among children ages two and four.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:01 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ILLINOIS (WIFR) - Law enforcement and gun shops urge all gun owners to be more responsible with their firearms, especially if they have children in the home.

Brad Miller works at Flashpoint Firearms in Roscoe says the goal should always be to keep guns locked away and out of sight of children but giving them the knowledge of how to and when to operate one can decrease the number of accidental deaths.

Law enforcement, gun shops and locksmiths come together to share an important message, all gun owners, no matter the size of the firearm need to invest in a gun safe or lock.

“Especially if you have kids in your house to keep them away from children, keep them away from other adults,” said Winnebago County Deputy Chief Anthony Micheli. “If your house gets burglarized it can make it harder for burglars to get to.”

“They care about their families; they care about the people that they with and it’s so inexpensive to protect yourself or protect the equipment that you have against somebody accidentally using it,” Guy Spinello said, operations manager of I. Spinello Locksmiths.

Spinello’s shop in Rockford says his shop carries trigger locks, so if someone who isn’t supposed to gets hold of the gun, they can’t pull the trigger. He also sells gun safes for weapons of all sizes.

“Kids are always curious, so they’ll grab them, and you just never know, and they’ll just pull the trigger not having any idea what they’re doing,” he said.

Micheli says parents need to have those tough conversations with kids about guns.

“It’s a big safety rule about guns just talk about ‘hey this is very dangerous, don’t play with them,’” he said.

Miller says he started training his daughter about gun safety and how to properly shoot when she was six-years-old, to strip away her curiosity.

“Where kids aren’t trained and they don’t know how to properly handle a firearm, that’s when there’s going to be accidents,” he said.

Miller says those who don’t personally have any firearm experience should sign up themselves and their kids for classes to learn how to handle a gun, how to properly shoot and when to shoot.

“Proper handling of a firearm is where most of the time where kids aren’t trained where they don’t know how to properly handle a firearm that’s when there’s going to be accidents happen,” he said. “Oh, little Johnny found daddy’s revolver in the underwear drawer, and he showed it to his friend and now his friend’s got a hole in his chest.”

According to a study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, most kids who die from accidental shootings thought they were a toy. 90% of those guns were loaded and left unlocked and 40% of the deaths happened among children ages two and four.

“Keep them out of children’s reach even with the gun lock on here, you’ll see it’s a simple lock, simple system,” Micheli said. “For kids, they’ll be hard to manipulate.”