L.A. County nurses, doctors could soon be giving away gun locks

L.A. County nurses, doctors could soon be giving away gun locks

Los Angeles County is evaluating a new possible strategy to curb gun violence in the region: giving out free gun locks.

Los Angeles County supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis have proposed a plan that would allow doctors and nurses at county-operated medical facilities to give out the gun locks as part of a “harm reduction strategy.”

Studies from the Pew Research Center found 64% of American gun owners fail to keep their guns in a locked place, and more than half keep their guns loaded, the L.A. County Supervisors said.

Hahn said research has shown gun owners are more likely to use locks if they are given to them by a medical professional.

Similar programs are already in place in other hospitals in the nation, Hahn said, adding that she believed it was a “concept we should explore for our own County hospitals.”

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Hahn and Solis which directs the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Services to determine the feasibility of the plan.

The agencies would need to develop a system for distributing the gun locks and determine how many the county would need to acquire to get the program up and running.

A law enforcement official demonstrates the use of a cable style gun lock on a Glock 17 pistol in Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A law enforcement official demonstrates the use of a cable style gun lock on a Glock 17 pistol in Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“Hospitals are where many victims end up, and to that end, we can use the opportunity to both educate and provide them with a tangible resource to better protect them and their families from guns—gun locks,” Solis said. 

Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, called the practice of locking firearms and keeping ammunition stored separately one of the “easiest ways to prevent gun violence.”

“Doing so helps prevent suicide, school shootings, and unintentional shootings,” Bennett said. “We are grateful to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as they continue their efforts to prevent gun violence with this innovative approach to make gun locks easily available.”

The two health agencies tasked with developing the possible gun lock distribution plan will have 45 days to present their findings to the Board of Supervisors.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finding that the leading cause of death for children is gun violence, Hahn says action is urgently needed to address the concerning crisis.

“Gun locks can save lives,” Hahn said. “Especially in households with children.”

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