COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It’s a right to bear arms. But it’s a responsibility to keep that weapon safe away from children, or people who would shoot children.
This means guns in houses need to be disabled so that kids can’t shoot them. In cars they should be locked away from people who smash and grab through vehicle windows, says Eric Delbert, owner of LEPD on Bethel Road in Columbus.
Cable locks come with guns, and work by putting the lock through the gun and securing that with a key. These are less than $5.00, and LEPD offers them for free to anyone who can’t afford that price.
A trigger lock is a physical barrier which keeps the trigger from being pulled, and fits through the trigger of the gun. A typical cost is between $7.99-$13.99.
Firearm safes can screw into the floor of a car, into the trunk, or into a floor or wall in the home. The simplest of these safes have key locks. Other safes can operate through fingerprints or punch pads.
Delbert says it’s important for gun owners to lock up their guns when they leave a car to keep it out of the hands of criminals. “Theft out of vehicles is a huge problem.” Car safes which lock the gun inside can be stored in the trunk or under a seat.
The gun owner has to take responsibility for deciding whether to take a gun out of the home entirely, says Delbert. “It’s your responsibility to know what’s going on in your house,” he said. “There are tragedies that are unforeseeable, but oftentimes there are signs.”
Delbert says gun owners should be aware of mental health issues in the people who live with them.
“Part of the responsibility of owning a firearm is making sure that is secured if you have family members that have mental issues or are going through something, a specific event or incident, to lock [the gun] up, or to have them at a neighbor’s house, or out of their means of being able to get them for a certain time period.”
Delbert said another danger are replica guns, which exactly look like working pistols. He put two guns side by side, and showed how difficult it is to discern a real gun from a ‘toy’.
“It’s easy for a teen to think, ‘oh, look at this toy, so I’m gunna stick this in my waistband and walk around, it’s only a toy,’ but as you can see, there is no distinction between those. And if pulled out there in an environment where you might have interaction with law enforcement, or a concealed-carry holder, it will result in that teenager being potentially harmed or shot.”