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Police, local leaders beg community to prioritize gun safety to save lives

Police, local leaders beg the community to prioritize gun safety to save lives
Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 19:01:00-04

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — In the wake of several incidents involving young kids getting access to loaded guns, community activists like Al Porter Jr., say enough is enough and are calling on parents to do more.

“I ask, I beg, I put upon those owning weapons to make sure that the access is not able to be there for those young children,” said Al Porter Jr. last Wednesday in Warrensville Heights; police say a three-year-old boy gained access to a gun, shooting and killing himself.

Then earlier in June, a 10-year-old boy also died after Cleveland police say a gun the child's aunt was holding fired through the ceiling into his bedroom.

“It's hard to hold a three-year-old, a five-year-old, a 10-year-old responsible when they didn't bring that weapon on the inside of the house,” said Porter.

Strongsville Police Chief Mark Fender agrees with Porter.

He says while his community hasn't had this issue, they are trying to be proactive about preventing a tragedy.

“We have been a proponent of distributing gun locks, anybody that requests one. They're available here at our department,” said Strongsville Police Chief Mark Fender.

For parents who are gun holders, Fender recommends storing unloaded guns in a locked location, with the ammunition stored separately.

If your gun isn't being stored, Fender says it should be on the owner and in their immediate control.

He adds gunlocks are a good safety feature, and parents should talk to their children about what to do if they see a gun outside the home.

“Our kids are too important. We want to make sure that those responsible gun-owners having the right equipment, lock mechanisms to keep their own kids safe,” said Fender.

The chief says free locks are available anytime at the police department, and you can get one even if you don't live in the city.

Public Affairs Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia says Cleveland's Bureau of Community Relations has locks and pamphlets too. You can call them at 216-623-5080.

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