Lock It For Love
Lock It For Love (LIFL) is a gun safety education initiative launched by GAGV in July 2017 to prevent injuries and deaths from accidental shootings or suicides when curious children, despondent teens, or older adults with dementia gain access to unlocked loaded guns in homes. It is based on the success of a similar initiative developed by St. Louis-based Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.
Prior to the pandemic trained GAGV volunteers attended community events offering information about safe gun storage and providing free gun locks to parents, grandparents or other adults who have children living in or visiting their homes. Our volunteers were accompanied by a police officer who demonstrated how to safely use the lock to help avoid a serious injury or tragic loss of life through an accidental shooting or suicide. The officer also answered questions about safe gun storage.
Once the pandemic began and safety precautions led to the cancellation of community events, we modified our program and worked at food distribution events with Harvesters and the KCMO Health Department. As cases began to spike and most drive thought events ended, once again we revised our model and began distributing the locks through many of our community partner organizations and pediatric offices.
Since we were no longer able to demonstrate the lock in person, we have prepared a video with Officer Rick Jones, a Community Interaction Officer with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, showing how to properly use the lock. The video was filmed by Madison Mustoe.
Since the Lock It For Love program began in July, 2017, 80+ GAGV volunteers have participated in more than 143 events across the metropolitan Kansas City area and distributed over 3,900 free gun locks. We are working with 13 area police departments whose officers have joined us at events in their respective communities to demonstrate the locks and answer questions related to safe storage of firearms. We also work closely with several area hospitals, mental health organizations, and suicide prevention organizations. Our hope is to have a direct impact on accidental deaths and suicide by limiting access to firearms.
What You Can You Do to Prevent Accidental Shootings?
If you own one or more guns:
- Make sure they are not loaded.
- Use a gun lock on each weapon and store in a locked cabinet.
- Lock ammunition in a place separate from the guns.
Even if you don’t own a gun:
- Ask the adults in homes where your children play if there are guns on the premises.
- Ask how the guns are stored.
- If you are not comfortable with the answers you get, offer your own home as an alternative play site.
A child 14 and under dies from an unintentional shooting every seven days in the US.
Kids are curious. They love to explore. They usually don’t have trouble finding a hidden gun. Even if you think they don’t know there’s a gun in the house, there is a good chance they do… and will find it.
Some kids can’t tell the difference between a “play” gun and a real one. Children as young as three may be strong enough to pull the trigger on a handgun.
Unlocked guns in the home can cause other problems.
Depressed teenagers can become suicidal, or arguments between family members can get out of control.
P.O.Box 11193 Overland Park, KS 66207
(Sources: the American Academy of Pediatrics & The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality)