Deaconess Supports Free Gun Lock Distribution

March 29, 2016

For more information contact:  Alex Stallings alexs@deaconess.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Free Gun Locks at St. Louis City Hall on Friday, April 1

“Don’t be foolish, lock your guns!”

            Free gun locks will be available at St. Louis City Hall from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Friday, April 1.  The event is sponsored by Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, in partnership with the City of St. Louis and Deaconess Foundation.  Nearly 40 percent of homes with children in the United States have a gun; approximately one in three handguns in America is kept loaded and unlocked.   

        “Death and injury to children are preventable when guns kept in homes are locked, unloaded and stored safely,” said Barbara Finch, co-chair of Lock it for Love,  a project of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. “Research tells us that a gun in the home is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of suicide.”  In 2009, suicide was the third leading cause of death for American youth ages 15-19 years old and firearms were the most common method used. 

            "This country has seen far too much tragedy happen when a child gets a hold of a gun in the home," Mayor Francis Slay said. "I am happy to welcome the Lock It For Love event to City Hall to provide gun locks for anyone who wants one. They are free and easy to use and might very well save a life." 

            Missouri has the sixth highest rate in the country of children under 18 killed by guns from 2001-2010.  Since 2002, St. Louis Children’s Hospital has cared for 916 children injured or killed by firearms; 35% were younger than 15 years old. “Gun violence is a public health epidemic that threatens the safety and well-being of our children in St. Louis,” said Reverend Starsky Wilson, president and CEO, Deaconess Foundation.  “If families choose to have guns in their homes they should, at least, protect children by getting gun locks and using them.”