SALT LAKE CITY — A new group taking shape in Utah hopes to stop gun deaths with one simple thing — gun locks.
The message of Bulletproof Kids is simple: Owning a gun is a right, but protecting children is a responsibility.
"They want to play. They want to touch it," said Miriam Walkingshaw with Utah Parents Against Gun Violence. "They see it on TV and they don't comprehend that it's real and it can kill."
About 40 percent of gun owners never lockup their firearms, Walkingshaw said, and the number of youth firearm suicides in Utah has increased 100 percent over the last year.
- Cable lock: A two piece lock that fits through the trigger guard
- Trigger lock: A two piece lock that fits through the trigger guard
- Personalized lock: A safety device permanently installed on a gun by the maker or owner
- Lock box: A small safe designed to store a gun/guns or ammunition
- Gun vault or safe: Firearms or ammunition are locked inside the vault. A push-button, combination or digital keypad opens the lock
"Thirty. That's easy to say that's not that much over the last decade, but when you think about 30 funerals, 30 kids, that's a lot of kids dying," she said.
According to the Pediatrics Societies Meetings, 22 percent of children with gun-owning parents have handled a firearm without their parents knowing. By hanging up posters, handing out stickers and airing public service announcements, Walkingshaw said she hopes to teach parents how to safely lock up their firearm.
"Gun ownership is a right, proper gun storage is part of that responsibility," said Dave Larsen with Doug's Sport n' Shot — a sponsor of the campaign.
Larsen holds free gun safety classes for children. The Bulletproof Kids campaign will be launched in a few weeks.