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Polk County League of Women Voters distributed 1,800 free gun locks in last 10 months

This story was originally published by WFLA.

“Gun locks can save lives,” said Andy Crossfield, co-chair of the League of Women Voters of Polk County’s gun violence prevention committee.

To Crossfield, it is a rare moment of consensus in a politically-fraught time.

“There’s so many times in politics where you just can’t make a difference but this was an ability to actually reach people and supply a need that they didn’t even know they had,” he said.

In the past 10 months, he said, the League of Women Voters of Polk County has distributed more than 1,800 gun locks in the county.

The organization connects with families at community events and parades and is in the process of reaching out to daycare centers.

“My pitch is basically come up to a stranger and go ‘hey, we’re just trying to keep kids safe. Do you have any unsecured guns in the home?’” said Crossfield.

The locks make a gun unable to fire and require a key to unlock.

The goal is to prevent accidental deaths and suicides.

Many of the locks distributed by LWV are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“From a suicide standpoint, this may give you the few minutes while you’re looking for this key, to reconsider,” said Crossfield.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, firearm-related injuries are the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in 2020 and 2021.

“When a child is shot, the median age of the shooter is 4 years old. We gotta do something about that,” said Crossfield.

In late 2023, the League of Women Voters of Polk County partnered with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in a PSA for safe firearm storage.

“For goodness sakes, don’t leave a firearm in your car or truck overnight. Bring it inside and keep it in a safe and secure place,” said Sheriff Grady Judd in the video.

To request a free gunlock, send an email to [email protected].