GREENSBURG, Ind. (WISH) – Two accidental shootings involving children have police stressing the importance of gun safety.
Police say a 3-year-old girl shot herself in the hand after finding her father’s gun at a home in Indianapolis Tuesday evening.
Right around that same time, police in Greensburg say a 6-year-old boy shot his 13-year-old step brother accidentally, after finding a gun his dad was going to start cleaning.
That 13-year-old died of his injuries.
Officials say these shootings are a stark reminder to make sure your guns are unloaded and locked up. In Marion County, Sheriff John Layton says he’s given away free gun locks at area gun shops for the past few years.
Three weeks ago, he announced he would team up with the Indianapolis Public Library, to provide free gun locks at multiple locations.
The locks were made available at the Central Library, Southport Branch, Glendale Branch, Brightwood Branch, Irvington Branch, and the West Indianapolis Branch.
Since then, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson says the Lawrence Branch asked if they could also have some, the Irvington branch ran out and was restocked, and Southport ran low and asked for more.
Irvington library officials say they’ve given away 300 free gun locks at their library alone, in that short amount of time.
“Children are very inquisitive. The only thing we can do, is keep that gun rendered safe, or completely out of reach and locked away,” said Sheriff Layton.
“There is no price tag on little ones. We have to protect the children of Marion County,” he added.
Sheriff Layton says he’s given out 6,000 of these gun locks in three years, using inmate commissary funds, and he’d like to give out 6,000 more.
Before he teamed up with the library, the gun locks were available for free at local gun shops: Don’s Guns, Beech Grove Firearms, and Indy Trading Post (formerly Pop’s Guns).
They’re also available at the Riley Children’s Hospital Safety Store.
“There’s just no way to understand how many lives we might have saved by doing this or how many injuries we might have prevented. I’ll just know in my mind: many,” explained Layton.
According to the CDC, in 2010, there were 2,711 infant, child, and teen firearm deaths across the United States.
Randall DeWitt, president and CEO of Indy Gun Safety in Fishers, says every firearm he sells comes with a gun lock.
“It’s an integral part of every course we teach,” said DeWitt.
“There is no such thing as an unloaded gun, ever, and we’ve got to get that through our heads. If you believe that, and if you practice that, you will never utter the words, ‘I didn’t think it was loaded,’” he added.
DeWitt suggests the cable locks (available in libraries) over a trigger lock. He says if the lock isn’t on tightly, the gun could still be fired.
With the cable lock on, the gun can’t be loaded at all.