COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus City Council is expanding its free gun lock program started over the summer.
On Monday night, council approved about $8,500 to buy 1500 more gun locks.
Council purchased the first round over the summer and residents have been able to get them at fire stations, for free.
“The gun locks have been very, very, successful throughout the summer,” said Mitchell Brown, City Council Member.
About 2,000 of the gun locks bought over the summer are now out in the community, according to Brown.
Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin says the locks are available at other fire stations in the city. He also says they’re being given out at neighborhood events and by community liaison officers.
“We’ll make sure that if anybody wants a lock, they’re going to be able to access one very easily,” said Battalion Chief Martin.
The program was first started to prevent accidental shootings.
“There’s a good chance those children know where those guns are even if the parent doesn’t think they do,” said Chief Martin. “We want to make sure there’s not a chance that young person can access the gun with a bullet and cause it to fire.”
Throughout the summer, members of the Department of Public Safety’s RREACT (Rapid Response Emergency Addiction And Crisis Team) worked with an antiviolence group in Linden to hand out gun locks.
Derrick Russel is one of the leaders of the groups. He estimates 500 locks were handed out in Linden alone.
“When we were passing these out, you’d be surprised how the community would with open hands take the gun lock,” said Russel.
“It’s just been too many kids, too many children, innocent people just accidentally shooting themselves or someone shooting them accidentally because they don’t know how to handle a gun.”
Battalion Chief Martin says the locks are available to community members, no questions asked.