BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Experts say one in three kids lives in a home with a gun.
That is why WKBN and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office teamed up to give away free gun locks on Tuesday at the WKBN studio. Deputies handed out 650 in three-and-a-half hours, including 500 cable locks and 150 trigger locks.
Joe DeMarco drove from Lowellville to pick up a few and teach his grandson a valuable lesson. He wants to make sure his 10-year-old grandson, Jefferey, and his cousins are safe when they come over to visit.
“They’re getting smarter and they’re knowing more now. It’s much safer to lock them up than it is to try to hide them from the kids because they’re eventually going to find them,” DeMarco said.
And DeMarco knows if that ever happens, he already has laid the groundwork for how to handle a weapon.
“From the beginning we’ve taught gun safety. Taught keep your gun down range, never keep your finger on your trigger,” DeMarco said.
“And he would teach me the safety that you would want to turn the safety on when you’re not handling it and that you want to keep your finger above the trigger,” Jefferey said.
Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said children like Jefferey are most at risk when they are at a relative’s house. especially if the family isn’t used to having kids around.
“It’s so important to know where your gun is, to have it locked up, to use a gun lock on it, to keep the ammo separate from it so accidents don’t happen,” Greene said.
That is why deputies showed hundreds of people picking up free gun locks how to use them. Cable locks go through the chamber, trigger locks snap onto the trigger guard.
And even when they are locked up, safety experts warn not to leave guns laying around.
“Leaving guns on a night stand or a table where a child can reach it can be a fatal mistake,” said Andrea Neuman-Taddei, Injury Prevention Coordinator for Akron Children’s Hospital.
At the DeMarco house, gun safety is a top priority. And DeMarco has a message for other parents who may not think about it as often.
“You better because it’s the safety of your child and you wouldn’t want anything to happen to them. They’re our most important resource. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to them,” he said.
Anyone who missed the gun lock giveaway can still pick them up for free. They can stop by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office or The Training Range, the new indoor gun range in Austintown. And remember, no permit or identification is needed.