ST. LOUIS — A father in his 20s was killed Saturday night after police said he was shot by his 2-year-old child. It happened when the toddler was handling a rifle that discharged, according to a police report.
Homicide detectives are investigating.
Cathy Gilbert is with Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.
“Always this news is heart-breaking,” said Gilbert, “but when I heard about this I thought, ‘People think 2-year-olds can’t possibly pull a trigger.’ But they have that strength. So many people have a young child around and they think – nothing will happen. But it does.”
Gilbert’s organization has a gun lock safety program known as Lock It for Love.
“There’s been research that shows securing guns does reduce the incidence of unintentional shootings involving children,” said Gilbert. “That’s what our program is based upon – that belief that if we can persuade more responsible adults to safely secure their firearms, we will have fewer of these kinds of incidents.”
Gilbert said gun locks are at least part of the solution to this problem.
“So, a gun lock would thread through the revolver, or through a clip. Then you secure it," she said. "One of the concerns is, I won’t be able to get to that gun when I need it. But it’s as simple as putting the key in, turning it and your gun is available.”
Gilbert said gun locks are available in St. Louis, virtually any day, free of charge.
“Our Lock It for Love program has gun locks at every St. Louis fire station. You can walk in any time and ask for a gun lock and they will provide one. Thirty fire houses in the city all have gun locks available. Just ask,” she explained.
Lock It for Love has also arranged for free gun locks to be available at designated city and county library locations. You can check the website of the library near you to see if that location offers free gun locks.
In St. Louis County, she said library locations where gun locks are available include Weber Road, Lewis and Clark, Florissant Valley and Natural Bridge.
In the City of St. Louis, library locations where gun locks are available include Cabanne, Divoll, Julia Davis and Baden.
Gilbert also provided step-by-step instructions on how to use a gun lock with different types of guns, which can be viewed in the document below.