ST. LOUIS — St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is urging residents to securely store their firearms to keep them out of the hands of children and teens while they’re home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“During this public health emergency, our youth are spending a lot of time isolated from friends and extended family,” said Reed. “Adults should always assume children and teens know where guns are stored, and it is their responsibility to keep them locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.”
According to a press release, Reed has continued his ongoing partnership with Moms Demand Action for Common Sense Gun Laws during this public health crisis to advocate for safe gun storage through the BeSMART program.
Reed wants to remind residents that unloaded firearms should be secured with a firearm locking device, such as a jacket or cable lock, or in a locked location, like a safe or lock box. Ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm in a secure location.
“We have to protect our children. We can’t afford to have another shooting because a child found an unlocked firearm. It’s past time for gun owners to be smart,” said Reed.
According to a press release from the Board of Aldermen’s office, every year nearly 350 children living in America under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. In addition, more than 600 children living in America die by gun suicide every year.
The press release also said that an estimated 13 million households with children in the U.S. have at least one gun. Not all of these firearms are stored securely, with approximately 4.6 million children living in a household with at least one gun that is stored loaded and unlocked.
In 2019, 13 children were fatally shot in the St. Louis area.
"CUT SHORT: Unsolved Killings of St. Louis Children" is an initiative of KSDK 5 On Your Side and its community outreach program, "Project 5," to raise awareness of the unchecked violence against children in the city of St. Louis from the summer of 2019 to present.
We're dedicated to telling their stories, following the criminal investigations and shining a light on the reasons for gun violence in our city. We won't let up.
Please join us in this important campaign seeking justice for our youth by sharing these stories about their young lives cut short, reaching out to elected officials and supporting the worthy organizations in St. Louis working to make our city's neighborhoods safer places to raise families.