City of Evanston Hands Out Free Gun Locks to Residents in Hope of Preventing Accidental Shootings

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The city of Evanston is taking action addressing gun safety following a recent incident in which police say a teenager brought a gun to school.

“The purpose of this program is to limit young people having easy access to them for guns,” said outreach worker Monday Bamgbose. “It’s used to prevent guns being in the hands of the wrong people.”

Bamgbose, who works at the Robert Crown Community Center explained the city has teamed up with Moms Demand Action in Evanston to give free gun locks to residents.

“I think its very important,” he said. “We see it everyday in the city of Chicago and sometimes here in Evanston, that young people are having access to guns, and that’s what we’re trying to limit here in the city of Evanston.”

The campaign, which was launched Friday afternoon, comes days after a 13-year-old student brought a loaded gun to Chute Middle School, police said.

“It’s always horrible and terrifying to hear of weapons being found in our schools,” said Sara Hines with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans seeking solutions to end gun violence. “The best thing that we can do is have really community focused efforts to educate the public around safe storage practices.”

Evanston police are urging gun owners to store their weapons properly and believe safety locks, such as the ones being handed out, give people an extra layer of protection.

“You want to place the chain through the opening, push it into he lock, turn the key, and now your gun is completely safe,” explained Evanston Police Department Detective Pedro Carrasco. “You cannot load it, you cannot fire - makes the gun completely inoperable.”

Gun safety advocates say the goal is to educate the public and to encourage residents to take advantage of free resources.

“It is the number one thing we can do to improve school safety and community safety universally, especially for our children,” said Hines.

Residents can pick up a gun safety lock by stopping by the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., and Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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