Officials hope free gun locks cut down on accidental deaths

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In nearly 40 years of law enforcement Marion County Sheriff John Layton has seen too many children accidentally wounded by a playmate with a found gun.

“I see it time after time after time.”

Layton is hoping to stem a pocket of the gun-related violence and injury outbreak that has seen Indianapolis’ murder rate climb higher than anytime in the last five years by giving away thousands of free gun locks.

“If its five, six, eight thousand gun locks…the price is nothing compared to the price of a child that would get ahold of one of these guns or hurt themselves.”

With hundreds of burglaries reported each year in Marion County, police reports are replete with descriptions of stolen guns, many of which are never seen again.

Layton’s gunlock is inexpensive and simple to use, a long cable insert through the gun’s chamber and barrel and secured with a lock and key.

“Gun locks work so the kid don’t hurt himself around the house,” said Don Davis of Don’s Guns, “but the gun lock can be taken off. You can take a hammer and beat ‘em off and that’s the reason why I try to sell a lot of safes.”

Davis said he goes through two semi-tractor trailer loads full of gun safes every year.

“A little kid can’t carry it out into a garage and beat it open.”

The safes are secured by combination and fingerprint recognition technology and can be bolted down making them virtually impossible to steal.

Davis said one alternative is to leave the gun and its ammunition separated, though he doesn’t always recommend it.

“Don’t ever go to your door without your gun loaded,” says Davis who claims to be one of the largest gun dealers in America. “It don’t go off unless you pull the trigger.”

Layton said free locks are available at six Indianapolis Public Library branches, Riley Hospital for Children and three gun stores: Don’s Guns, Pop’s Guns and Beech Grove Firearms.

Ironically, the gun lock giveaway will be financed with profits from the jail commissary where inmates purchase items on their accounts.