Local Grandparents Against Gun Violence group has distributed 2,500 free locks through Lock It For Love

Merriam police were on hand at the Merriam Safety Fair Wednesday to demonstrate proper use of gun locks.

Among the booths open at the safety fair held at the Merriam public works facility Wednesday was an orange covered table where two volunteers stood at the ready to hand out a simple device that can help prevent tragedy.

Started a little over two years ago, the local chapter of Grandparents Against Gun Violence’s Lock It For Love program has given away more than 2,500 cable gun locks free of charge. In addition to handing the devices out, the group works with local police departments to provide training to gun owners on how to properly use the locks and secure their weapons.

The locks are a simple device: A cable threaded through a gun’s magazine well to prevent a clip from being placed into the weapon, and blocking the mechanism that allows a shot to fire. They work on handguns, shotguns and some rifles.

The main goal, says the group, is to prevent accidental shootings as well as suicides.

“Safety should be of the upmost importance when dealing with firearms,” said Gail Roberson of Grandparents Against Gun Violence.

If guns are left loaded and accessible in a home — even if they’re hidden — curious kids can come upon them. And some young children aren’t able to tell the difference between a toy gun and a real weapon. Gun locks are a simple and easy-to-use barrier to prevent young hands from triggering an accidental shooting.

With thousands of gun deaths in the country each year attributable to suicide, the locks can also be an effective barrier to the loss of life for people in emotional distress. Grandparents Against Gun Violence recently produced the following video featuring local physicians discussing the issue of gun access and suicide, particularly among young people:

Grandparents Against Gun Violence is hosting its sixth annual Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence community forum on Monday, Oct. 14 at the Best Conference Center on the KU Edwards Campus.