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Simple Step, Real Results: Gun Locks Save Lives

Organizations increase awareness & availability for safety measure that could prevent deadly shootings

Every week a toddler shoots someone.

Every 30 minutes a child or a teenager is injured or killed by a gun.

More than 80 percent of children under the age of 18 who die by gun suicide use a family member’s gun.

Three out of four children and teens know where their family keeps firearms, and the use of simple locks on both firearms and ammunition could keep these children from harming themselves or anyone else. 

Grandparents Against Gun Violence was created after the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six educators were gunned down. Its mission is to reduce gun violence through education, advocacy and participation in actions to keep children safe at home, at school and in the community.

To help build awareness and educate families, Grandparents Against Gun Violence teamed with Kansas City-based Proffer Productions on the new "Locks Save Lives" video to bring attention to this simple safety measure that could save hundreds of children’s lives every year.

Gun locks are available through many providers, some free-of-charge, including many gun shops, local police departments and more. Children's Mercy Kansas City recently launched a gun lock program for its families (details below), and a simple online search can identify other resources around the nation. 

Gun locks cannot prevent every gun death in America, but they will make children safer in homes where there are currently unsecured guns— a giant leap forward. 


Making Gun Locks Available: No Cost, No Questions

To help prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents, Children’s Mercy is partnering with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Project Child Safe to provide gun locks to families of patients at no cost and with no questions asked.

The free cable-style gun locks, along with instructions in either English or Spanish, can be picked up at the Security offices at Adele Hall Campus, CM South and CM Broadway.

“Bravo to Children’s Mercy for making these guns locks available to our families that own firearms,” said Denise Dowd, MD, MPH, Emergency Department and Urgent Care. “It’s crucial that parents keep guns locked, unloaded and out of reach. The most important thing any parent can do is create a home environment that’s nurturing, supportive and safe.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective way to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents. However, for parents who choose to own firearms, safe gun storage (guns unloaded and locked, ammunition locked separately) can reduce unintentional injury and suicide risk for children and adolescents.

Learn more about the Center for Childhood Safety at Children's Mercy.