Free gun locks available for enhanced firearm safety in Polk County

Published 1:37 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency recently announced a collaborative effort with the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Public Health to reduce injury and deaths related to firearms.  

According to NC Wildlife, in the past several months there has been an increase in firearm-related injuries and fatalities, particularly among children and in hunting-related incidents. To assist community members with responsible gun ownership, the Polk County HHSA has obtained gun locks through the partnership with DPH and DPS and is partnering with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to help distribute them for free, while supplies last. 

These locks play a vital role in promoting safety and fostering responsible firearm practices. 

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“These gun locks are a quick and effective way to keep your firearms secured safely so children cannot harm themselves or others,” says Polk County Sheriff Tim Wright. “We look forward to distributing to the community in the coming weeks.” 

Gun locks provide a crucial layer of protection against hunting-related incidents. By securing firearms with these locks, hunters can significantly reduce the risk of unintentional discharges and enhance overall safety during hunting activities and in the off-seasons while firearms are stored.

“Firearm incidents among the nation’s youth have been tragically high according to the CDC data from 2018 to 2021, with firearms being identified as the leading cause of death in individuals aged 0 to 24 years in the United States,” says Polk County HHSA Director Joshua Kennedy. “In North Carolina, on average, 156 children and teens succumb to gun-related incidents each year, with 32% classified as suicides and 62% as homicides. Nationally, 33% of all gun deaths among children and teens are suicides, and 62% are homicides.” 

Safe storage is a big part of firearm safety and local gun owners are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain these free locks for their firearms. Distribution is available at Polk County Division of Public Health, located at 2881 NC Hwy. 108 E. in Columbus, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. For more information, call 828-894-8271.

 

Submitted by Haley Suskauer