Wayne County authorities offering free gun locks to help prevent accidental shootings involving kids 

Detroit Police reports six children were shot accidentally shot this year. Unsecured firearms were often a factor. 

Law enforcement authorities in Wayne County are urging gun owners to lock up their weapons. That’s after several kids in Detroit were shot in recent months.

Police have reported six incidents this year where children shot themselves or were shot by others. None of the shootings this year were fatal. Last year, 67 children under the age of 17 years old suffered gunshot wounds. Many of the cases were unintentional.

Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington says gun owners should use gun locks when they’re not in possession of their firearms.

“I have a 2-year-old grandchild. When she unexpectedly comes over to my house, I have to think first right away, ‘where are my guns?’” Washington says. “It’s got to be the most important thing we think about when we’re gun owners.”

Free gun locks are available at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and various Detroit Police Department precincts. Law enforcement agencies say they will deliver the locks to those who request them.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says Michigan needs gun reform for child safety access laws.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says Michigan needs gun reform for child safety access laws.

“We want this to happen immediately,” Worthy says. “And unfortunately, I am told, and I hope that I’m wrong, that this will never pass in the state for various reasons.”

Worthy says the state should adopt a scaled schedule for offenses that escalate depending on what happens after a child accesses an improperly stored firearm. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has charged gun owners with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter following some accidental shootings.

According to Worthy, her office has seen more than 20 children shot in the homes or vehicles of lawful gun owners says since the start of the pandemic. She says improper gun storage is often a factor.

“I’m talking about in a crib. I’m talking about in a bottom dresser drawer that remains open. On the coffee table, under the bed,” says Worthy, citing examples of where guns have been unsecured.

Detroit Police Chief James White says local law enforcement is reaching out to owners.

“If you want a gun lock, we will come out and we will show you how to use it and we will leave it at your house no questions asked,” he says.

Gun purchases have increased substantially since the onset of COVID-19, according to White.

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.