Keep your guns and your kids safe

SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A CDC study says gunshots are the second leading cause of death for children behind car accidents. After a high school student killed several classmates a few years ago, doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital went into action. Their goal isn’t to take guns away, but rather to make sure they are safe in the home.

The first gun lock box giveaway at Seattle’s Outdoor Emporium was standing room only.

“Individuals will come in and they have to go through a gun safety training course before they get their free gun vault from Children’s Hospital,” said Leon Moore, Outdoor Emporium Manager.

Mark Del Beccaro, MD, Seattle Children’s Chief Medical Officer, and his team started the program about four years ago. In 18 events, they’ve given away more than 5,000 lock boxes, 5,000 cable locks, and 500 trigger locks.

“If you own a car, you wear a seat belt. If you own a boat, you should be wearing a life jacket, and if you ride a bike, you should be wearing a helmet. If you own a gun, when it’s not in use at the home, you should lock it up,” continued Dr. Del Becarro.

More than 1,200 kids have died from gunshots in a little over a year. Dr. Del Beccaro says locking guns up reduces the risk of accidental or suicidal shootings by toddlers or teens by more than 80 percent.

“Just delaying them by having something locked will often be enough that they will kind of come down from the rollercoaster, so it’s really about impulse control,” stated Dr. Del Becarro.

Gun safety experts also say firearms should be stored unloaded, with ammunition in another place. Dr. Del Beccaro says it’s too soon to measure the program’s impact, but it is spreading to more communities.

Families that get the lock boxes have reported overwhelmingly that they are using them at home. Seattle Children’s Hospital has expanded the gun safety device giveaway to its outpatient clinics. They’ve also put together an outline for other children’s hospitals to run the program. Children’s Hospital in Atlanta is already on board.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Ken Ashe, Editor; and Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer.