From the Harnett County Department of Public Health
Tragic gun accidents kill and injure thousands of kids every year. Over one third of homes with children have guns. Many are kept unlocked and loaded, and every year thousands of children are killed or seriously injured as a result. Approximately 80 percent of unintentional firearm deaths of children younger than age 15 occur in the home.
National ASK Day is held annually on the first day of summer, a season when children play more often in other homes. ASK Day reminds parents about the importance of asking if there are guns in the homes where their children play. ASK is a national public health initiative that provides something every parent can do to keep their children safe. The Harnett County Department of Public Health and the Child Fatality Prevention Team are participating in the National ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day which is recognized on Thursday, June 21.
Parents can protect their children by being informed about the risk to children’s safety posed by guns. Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or similar location is not safe storage. Children are extremely curious and might find a gun in your home that you thought was safely hidden or inaccessible. Each year, there are countless tragic stories of children finding guns that parents thought were well hidden or safely stored. The ASK Day campaign encourage parents to ask if there are guns in the homes where children play such as at friends or family members’ homes.
Unloaded guns can be secured with a gun locking device that renders the gun inoperable. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for lock storage. Store ammunition in a locked location separate from the gun, preferably in a gun safe.
The Health Department and Child Fatality Prevention Team will make available a limited of supply of free gun locks for residents, while supplies last, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Health Department which is located within the Governmental Complex, 307 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., in Lillington.
For more information about the gun locks, call the Health Department at (910) 893-7550, or for additional information about the National Ask Day log onto the Health Department’s website located at www.harnett. org/health.
Tips for safe storage includes: Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. Be sure to place a locked storage case in a location not accessible to children. Unloaded firearms can also be secured with a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for lock storage. Store ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms.