CHICAGO — A new initiative is now underway between the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and four major children’s hospitals to prevent gun injuries and deaths.
The partnership centers around a small device that could save a life.
A press conference held Wednesday included a demonstration on how effective gun locks can be in keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
Now often the wrong hands are small hands, with 4.6 million American children currently living in a home with a loaded and unlocked gun.
Those numbers are from research conducted by “Everytown for Gun Safety,” which also states locking firearms cuts the risk of unintentional injury or death to children by 85%.
“Project Child Safe,” which is an offshoot of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, has donated a thousand gun locks. Eight-hundred of those will be distributed evenly between Advocate Children’s Hospital, Comer Children’s Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and La Rabida Children’s Hospital — with the remaining 200 to be distributed by the sheriff’s department.
In addition to keeping weapons out of the hands of children, who might mistake the gun as a toy, these locks have other benefits as well.
“One of the other benefits is in the area of suicides. People, traditionally when they talk about gun violence, they’re focused on people shooting each other,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “50% of gun-related deaths come about because of suicides. Anything that can slow that process down for the individuals considering killing themselves is huge.”
Now, Dart said these devices cost between $5 and $10. They are hoping they can get more of them donated as well, to keep getting them into the hands of people who need them.