LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — As June kicks off ‘Gun Violence Awareness Month,’ there is one isolated issue Kentucky police departments are hoping to change.
It is the number of children who are affected by accidental shootings.
The Richmond Police Department, Winchester Police Department, and Georgetown Police Department have supplies of free gun locks for the community.
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Community members can simply walk in and request one for free, while supplies are stocked.
The need to protect children from accidental shootings continues to grow, as within the past year, The Trace, researched that there were at least 162 incidents where kids accidentally either shot themselves or another child.
Out of the 162 incidents, The Trace determined that 71 of those kids were fatal, and 96 were injured.
The Trace is a nonprofit newsroom that covers gun violence was able to pull data from the Gun Violence Archives site.
Chip Brownlee, an investigative reporter at The Trace said, the pandemic made an impact on the uptick in gun sales, most of which were handguns.
“There have been a ton of new guns that have entered into these homes, and these homes have kids in them,” Brownlee said. “The flip side of that is if that gun is out and accessible and loaded, it’s also accessible to a kid who could use it to hurt themselves or to hurt somebody else.”
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The Trace also found a 2021 survey of American adults from Harvard and Northeastern University that showed at least 4.6 million kids living in homes across the United States, with at least one unlocked gun and loaded gun.
Kentucky is one of many states that doesn’t enforce a Child Access Prevention law or a safe gun storage law. In other states that enforce such laws, negligence is penalized and could even rise to the level of a felony.
“And with so many more storage laws that are not controversial, most gun owners support these laws. Most Americans support the law. It’s just there’s not a federal law to that point. And about half the states don’t have safe storage laws,” Brownlee said.