RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — As families prepare to gather for the holidays, the Richmond Heights Police Department is promoting safety. The agency is offering a free tool to prevent gun violence and accidents.
“Unsecured firearms, unfortunately, can result in a tragic outcome,” said RHPD Sargent James McVey.
Members of the public can secure their firearms with free gun locks available at the Richmond Heights Police Department. The initiative is in collaboration with national safety education program Project ChildSafe, which offers a brochure about gun safety and security with each gun lock.
“Gun owners should make sure their guns are in a safe location, especially when they have children or guests or anyone else over at the house. During the holidays, that’s a special consideration,” said Sgt. McVey.
He explained firearm risks for children and others can be mitigated at home with responsible storage and handling.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports firearm-related injuries are now the leading cause of death for children and teens, surpassing car crash deaths in 2020.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital says 1,300 people under 18 die from shootings each year and more than 22 million children live in homes with guns. Nearly 40% of all unintentional shooting deaths among children 11-14 years of age occur in the home of a friend. The hospital system also reports the risk for suicide is higher when an adolescent lives in a home with guns.
“If a child gets a hold of a weapon and is able to discharge it –and if it’s loaded, even worse. It could hurt or kill the child,” Sgt. McVey said.
Gun owners interested in the free firearm locks can pick them up between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday at the Richmond Heights Police Department at 27201 Highland Road.
Project GunSafe has distributed more than 40 million gun locks through more than 15,000 local law enforcement partners nationwide.
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