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Columbus City Council announces new free gun lock, lock box program


On Monday morning, the Columbus City Council announced a new gun lock and lock box initiative.

The “Love Our Children, Lock Your Guns” initiative is a collaboration between the Columbus Division of Police, Columbus Division of Fire and Columbus Public Health to encourage safe gun ownership practices.

City council cited both recent local events of children accessing firearms and accidentally discharging guns that were left out and national statistics of gun deaths becoming the leading cause of death for children in the United States.

The council also cited a Nationwide Children's study that showed 92% of the firearms used in accidental youth shootings were stored, loaded and unlocked.

Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke about how important it is to store firearms away from areas children can access. "Guns must be properly stored, locked up and stowed away in a secure location where children cannot get to them, or better yet where children do not know they even exist," Ginther said.

“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 council member 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.”

Other council members and officials cited more statistical evidence, as well as personal experience to urge citizens to lock their firearms.

"I know what the damage can be when a child has been shot. I have taken care of them,” Council Member Mitchell Brown spoke of his time as a paramedic. “I have taken care of adults who have been shot, but it's different when you hold a child in your arms and know that their life is in your hands and know that that shooting was an accidental discharge."

Ginther also assured citizens that this was not an attack on the Second Amendment. "We are not trying to eliminate the constitutional right to bear arms. On the contrary. We welcome responsible gun owners who support common sense gun safety provisions to be part of this conversation."

Gun locks are available for free for any residents at all Columbus fire stations, and there are no questions asked. Gun lock boxes are also available for free upon request.