ST. LOUIS - In the middle of a particularly violent few weeks in St. Louis, the city is joining with Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice to fight senseless gun deaths by handing out free gun locks at city hall.
According to the Children's Firearm Alliance, over the last year and a half, 14 children across Missouri have been unintentionally shot by a firearm; 9 of them were in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
But event organizers offer a simple solution they say everybody with a weapon should be using a lock.
Harriet Kopolow, a volunteer with Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, said a gun lock is a simple device to use.
"Thread the lock through the barrel it comes out the cartridge take the gold end of the lock insert it into the lock only a quarter turn. It is locked," she said.
June 21 is National Ask Day, which means parents are advised to ask if there are guns in the homes where their children are visiting.
So far this year, there have been more than 1,600 kids and teens killed or injured by firearms across the county. Statistics show, nearly 40 percent of American homes with children have a gun. An estimated one in three handguns is kept in the U.S. is kept loaded and unlocked. Thousands of accidental shooting deaths and injuries may be prevented when a gun is stored safely.
More than 300 people picked up a free gun lock Wednesday, including Kittrel Moore who knows firsthand the importance of locking your firearm.
"Years ago, my house was broken into and I had two weapons that were stolen and they hand no locks on them, so that's kind of bothered me ever since," he said.
Police also sold lock boxes at the event.
Alderman Frank Williamson (26th Ward) picked up a lock box himself and hopes more gun owners will do the same.
"If you do have a weapon and you're entering a place that you cannot carry your weapon, even if you have a carry conceal license, at least you can leave it in your vehicle and lock it up," he said.
Other local gun lock giveaway events include:
6/25 Ivory Perry Park
6/29 St. Louis Place Park
7/8 Pick Up the City Tour, 1414 N Garrison
7/18 St. Francois Community Services, south side
7/30 Back to School Fair, Temple Israel, Ladue and Spoede Road, Creve Coeur
8/5 Affinia Healthcare Back to School Fair, 3930 S Broadway, St. Louis
8/5 Beyond the Backpack, Normandy High School