SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins wants the city to find a way to distribute free cable gun locks following the accidental shootings of three children last week in two separate incidents.

During a news conference Monday, Police Chief Wayne Smith pleaded with gun owners to lock up their guns after a four-year-old was killed and a three-year-old was wounded in one incident, just hours after two-year-old was wounded in another.

Police say in both cases, the shootings happened after the children got hold of guns that were left unlocked, loaded, and unattended. During the news conference, both the chief and the mayor mentioned the possibility of creating a program similar to the smoke detector giveaways that fire departments provide.

Chief Smith said that SPD has been giving officers cable locks to keep their department-issued weapons secure while officers are off duty.

“We are in the process of trying to secure some (gun cable locks) that we can give out to the public. We’re actively working on that,” Smith said.

There is no word on how the city would execute or pay for such a program, but all in attendance emphasized that something needs to be done to curb such preventable injuries and deaths.

“Do what you can to lock up your weapons to keep them away from young people,” Perkins said. “Because if you don’t, you are being negligent. You are endangering our city. You are endangering the future of our city.”

Shreveport Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor calls the increase in accidental shootings a “public health emergency.”

Taylor says that the three accidental shootings over the weekend were a wake-up call. She says the incidents made her think about herself as a gun owner and examine what responsible gun ownership is.

“You don’t leave your gun out like you don’t leave a fire burning,” Taylor said.

Taylor believes that Chief Smith’s call to action is warranted and timely. She also says that a common-sense approach to gun safety put forth by the mayor would be something that she would support.

A gun cable lock giveaway is not unheard of. In fact, it appears to be a norm as communities around the country try to get a handle on accidental shootings, especially those that involve children. For more than a decade, municipalities and states throughout the country have made big investments in gun safety programs some have used grants provided by the Department of Justice.

On March 28 the White House published a release outlining points in President Biden’s proposed budget, that would curve gun violence and provide additional funding for state and local law enforcement organizations to:

  • Expand Community Violence Interventions. The Budget includes $500 million in FY23 for community violence interventions, split between DOJ and HHS.
  • Invest in Gun Crime Prevention and Community Violence to Make Our Neighborhoods Safer. The President’s Budget includes $30 billion in mandatory resources to support law enforcement and crime prevention coupled with criminal justice reform. The Administration will announce more details on this initiative in the coming weeks. In addition, the Budget includes significant funding to prevent gun crime by addressing root causes. 

If passed as proposed, those federal funds would not be made available until the 2023 fiscal budget is released, so what happens in the meantime? How will unintentional shootings in the community be prevented while the mayor and council decide on a program and budget the funds to support it?

Gun safety cables can be purchased in stores and online starting at about $6 on the low end and around $35 on the high end.

Lockboxes, trigger locks, and storing weapons with magazines or bullets separate from the gun are best practices for gun safety, according to the NRA.