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Medical facilities may distribute gun locks


Effort to promote firearm safety

The Board of Supervisors has advanced a proposal that would allow doctors and nurses at county-run hospitals to distribute free gun locks in an effort to promote firearm safety.

“Gun locks can save lives—especially in households with children,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement after the vote. “Some studies have found that people are more likely to use gun locks if they are given to them by their doctor or in a medical center to take home and I think it is a concept we should explore for our own County hospitals.”

The board unanimously approved a motion by Hahn and Supervisor Hilda Solis that calls on county staff to explore ways of implementing the distribution system, similar to programs operating in other hospitals around the country. The county Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention and the Department of Health Services was directed to provide a written report within 45 days about the number of county-operated hospitals and medical campuses, the number of gun locks that would be needed to begin the program and a proposed procedure for distribution.

The report will also include a proposed timeline for purchasing the locks and the resources needed to obtain them.

“If guns are not safely stored or locked, it can lead to devastating and fatal consequences,” Solis said in a statement. “Gun owners may assume that their families know how to handle a gun, however, if it’s not safely stored or locked, serious injuries or death may result. 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.”