DPS Urges Responsible Storage of Firearms Over New Year’s

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging the public to prioritize the safe storage of firearms as the year 2024 approaches. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately one-third of children live in homes where a firearm is present. In an effort to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths, DPS is reminding individuals to store their guns securely.

In 2019, there were at least 2,683 deaths in Texas due to firearms, a rate higher than the national average. Public safety officials have noted that this number has consistently increased every year since 2011. To address this alarming trend, DPS Sergeant Deon Cockrell emphasized the importance of storing guns in locations that are inaccessible to children and unauthorized individuals.

During the holiday season, guns often become popular gifts. However, DPS wants to stress the significance of responsible gun ownership and the need for secure storage. In 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed off on the Safe Gun Storage campaign, which aims to prevent unintentional injuries caused by firearms.

Sergeant Cockrell stated, “It’s such an important issue. I think we’ll continue this message as much as we can put it out to the public so that we can help prevent some of these unintentional injuries to children and people that access firearms that shouldn’t have access to those firearms.”

To prevent unauthorized access to firearms, Cockrell provided a three-step checklist that individuals should follow. First, guns should be stored unloaded and secured using trigger locks, biometric locks, gun cases, strong boxes, gun cabinets, or gun safes. Secondly, ammunition should be stored and locked safely. Lastly, individuals must ensure that stored firearms remain inaccessible to family, friends, children, or other visitors at all times.

Cockrell also emphasized the importance of discussing the presence of firearms with friends, family, and visitors. It is crucial to inquire about the presence of firearms in other people’s homes, especially when children are involved. Statistics have shown that more than half of unintentional child deaths involving firearms occur due to unsecured weapons.

In addition to securing firearms within homes, Cockrell highlighted the significance of securing firearms in vehicles as well. Leaving firearms in vehicles increases the risk of theft, as many criminals obtain firearms through such means. To assist in securing firearms, several gun stores offer various types of gun locks. Moreover, DPS occasionally organizes events where free gun locks are distributed.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the safety of everyone, whether they own a firearm or not. Sergeant Cockrell emphasized, “We don’t want them to not enjoy those firearms, we just want them to secure them safely for when they’re ready to use them.”

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