Philadelphia, Aug. 1, 2016 – City officials, health professionals, and anti-violence advocates gathered at Temple University Hospital on Monday to announce they would be giving away free gun locks at several National Night Out locations in order to help Philadelphians comply with a new safe storage law.
Under a law first proposed by City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Philadelphians are required to keep firearms and ammunition locked away out of the reach of any minors present in the home. Pennsylvania is one of 47 states that lack safe storage laws, despite a number of high-profile tragedies involving children accessing deadly weapons. Last year, at least 265 children under the age of 18 accidentally shot themselves or someone else, according to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
“There are few things more outrageous than the death of a child by her own hands or the hands of a playmate or sibling, simply because adults did not act responsibly and keep guns locked far out of reach,” Council President Clarke said. “Children who die in these entirely preventable tragedies are not the only victims: The children who pulled the trigger and the adults who failed to keep them safe must live with an indescribable shame for the rest of their lives. Keeping guns safely stored away from kids is inexpensive and easy, and I’m grateful to our partners for making these gun locks freely available to the public.”
Sheriff Jewell Williams added: “A gun lock is a tool that can be used to keep the public safe, including children and inexperienced gun owners, regardless of whether the weapon is registered or not. The message is all about gun safety for everyone, and saving lives. Got a gun? Get a gun lock!”
Free gun locks will be distributed during National Night Out events at the following locations:
|Fair Hill Square Park
4th & Lehigh Street | Directions
Monday, August 1st
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
75th Street & Lansdowne Avenue | Directions
Monday, August 1st
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
|32nd & Cumberland Streets | Directions
Tuesday, August 2nd
5:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Residents may also call the Safe Storage Hotline at 215-686-3572 for information on obtaining gun locks.
“As an army officer and a Philadelphian, and most importantly as a dad, I know that guns in the hands of people who should not have them can cause accidents, injuries and sometimes death,” said R. Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney. “It is an honor to stand with this coalition. I look forward to continuing to work with this team, and anyone else, who can help us distribute and advocate for the use of gun locks so we can do the important work of saving lives.”
“Gun violence is an epidemic in the city of Philadelphia,” said Amy Goldberg, MD, FACS, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Surgeon-in-Chief for Temple University Health System, and Medical Director of Perioperative Services at Temple University Hospital. “We’ve seen too many incidents where children have access to guns and accidently shoot others or themselves. One life is too many and whatever we can do to preserve a life is a step in the right direction.”
“Sadly, as evidenced by the number of gun victims that are treated here at Temple and throughout Philadelphia, we are a city that is awash in firearms,” said Scott Charles, MAPP, Trauma Outreach Coordinator at Temple University Hospital. “It is difficult for most people to comprehend the kind of damage that bullets do to the adult human body. The kind of devastation they cause small children is truly unthinkable. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this kind of suffering and death.”
Approximately 1,000 gun locks will be given away over two days of National Night Out events beginning Monday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 10,500 reported deaths from unintentional shootings from 1999 to 2014, of which 2,366 were deaths of minors. From 2001 to 2013, more than 215,000 nonfatal unintentional firearms injuries were reported, of which approximately 55,000 were injuries to minors.
“As part of our anti-crime efforts, we will be giving away free gun locks to secure weapons so that children are safer in their own homes,” Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., said. “I encourage all gun owners with children to come out to our National Night Out events to pick up a free gun lock – no questions asked.”
Also in attendance for the announcement at Temple University Hospital were: Dr. Larry Kaiser, President & CEO, Temple University Health System; Dorothy Johnson Speight, Mothers in Charge; Bilal Quayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee; Sandy Sheller, Sheller Family Foundation; Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA; Rev. Bonnie Camarda, The Salvation Army; and representatives of Philadelphia CeaseFire.
Video of the press conference will be added shortly.
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Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke