By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
In recent years, the topic of guns has become a hot button issue, especially in Milwaukee where gun violence is predominant. While some say the solution is to get rid of guns completely, others focus on a more tangible goal: gun safety.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, The Master Lock Company donated 1,000-gun locks to the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention. According to the press release, the gun locks are a Master Lock 90-DSPT, a keyed lock that goes over the trigger guard to prevent it from being fired.
During a press conference, Mayor Tom Barrett explained how the city reached out to Master Lock after working with groups such as Common Ground. Their response was very heartening, Barrett said.
“We’ve all seen in our city and across our country all too often what happens when guns aren’t stored safely,” Barrett said. “Children are hurt or killed…One child hurt or killed is one child too many”
Kids Forward, is a statewide group, which aims to promote access to opportunity for every child in Wisconsin, according to its website. The group reported that from 1999 to 2014, over 400 Wisconsin children were killed by guns and 167 of them were from Milwaukee County.
Barrett said that gun locks and gun storage are one way to prevent these tragic events from occurring. He added that success in reducing gun violence lies in partnerships such as this one.
Brett Finley, the president of Master Lock, said the company was proud to join the gun safety effort. Think about how many lives could be saved if gun were safely locked, he said.
“We’re happy to support [the effort] to make it a better community for all of us,” Finley said.
Also, in attendance at the press conference was Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik. She said that violence, whether it be intentional or not, is a public health issue.
“We need to protect our children from guns and from access to guns,” she said.
As part of that effort, the gun locks will be distributed at four locations: Office of Violence Prevention at the Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, Third Floor, Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., Keenan Health Center, 3200 N. 36th St. and Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd.
“Violence is a public health issue and it’s a serious and preventable situation,” she said.
Reggie Moore, the director of Office of Violence Prevention, said the office is taking a comprehensive approach to violence such as working to address it on the front end through prevention.
He said with the holidays approaching, the Office of Violence Prevention, wants to make sure homes are as safe as possible especially if there’s a firearm in that house. Make sure the guns are locked up and stored away from the reach of young children.
Ald. Cavalier Johnson said that government at the local level is committed to gun safety. He stressed the importance of partnerships like this to help continue the effort.