Three children in St. Louis died in the last week after getting ahold of a gun. The best practice is to keep your gun unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition.
ST. LOUIS — In America, kids are injured or killed by guns every day.
Dr. Lindsay Clukies is a Washington University pediatric trauma surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“Over 4 Million kids live in a home with a gun that is unlocked right now, so that’s 4 million tragedies waiting to happen any second,” Clukies said.
She said it happens too often in our area.
“In St. Louis compared to the rest of the country, we have about 10 times the national rate of firearm-related deaths in youth,” Clukies said.
The Centers for Disease Control reported in 2019 that a child or teen was killed every 2 hours and 36 minutes.
“Studies show that simply telling them not to touch a gun isn’t enough,”
Gail Wechsler with Moms Demand Action advocates for gun safety education through their Be Smart program.
“With gun ownership comes responsibility. Any adult who knows children will be in their home, it’s their responsibility, and that’s why we say secure storage is the way to do it,” Wechsler said.
“The main principles are to always to keep your guns unloaded and locked with your ammunition locked and stored separately,” Clukies said.
If your child visits another home, it’s important to ask how guns are stored in the house.
“Add firearm questioning to your playdate checklist,” Clukies said.
“Do you have medications? Are they locked up so my child can’t get them? You would tell the other parent if your child has a food allergy that could be dangerous or life-threatening, so you should ask about guns,” Wechsler said.
Having gun safety practices in place could keep curious children from making a tragic mistake.
“I really hate using the term accident because it’s preventable, it’s not an accident. These are preventable injuries. If guns are stored safely we can prevent this,” Wechsler said.
To eliminate any excuse of costs for gun safety, the City of St. Louis is offering free gun locks.
You can pick them up at participating fire stations, library branches and police departments.