Los Angeles County officials are proposing a plan to allow doctors and nurses at County-operated hospitals and medical campuses to give out free gun locks.
The proposal is part of the county’s harm reduction strategy to prevent gun violence, according to a release from Supervisor Janice Hahn.
More than 60 percent of gun owners in America don’t lock their firearms and 56 percent keep them loaded, according to data obtained by the county from the Pew Research Center.
“Gun locks can save lives, especially in households with children,” Supervisor Hahn said in a press release. “Some studies have found that people are more likely to use gun locks if they are given to them by their doctor or in a medical center to take home and I think it is a concept we should explore for our own County hospitals.”
A motion authored by Supervisor Hahn and fellow Supervisor Hilda Solis was passed unanimously by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, giving the county the green light to explore gun lock distribution.
According to officials, hospitals nationwide have already implemented a similar system after research showed that the practice was effective.
“Gun owners may assume that their families know how to handle a gun, however, if it’s not safely stored or locked, serious injuries or death may result,” Supervisor Solis said. “Hospitals are where many victims end up, and to what end, we can use the opportunity to both educate and provide them with a tangible resource to better protect them and their families: gun locks.”
The L.A. County Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention and the Department of Health Services are set to report back to the board in 45 days with information about how many County-operated hospitals and medical campuses there are and the number of locks required for implementation.
Also in the works is a proposed plan for implementing the practice that includes a timeline on securing the locks, developing educational campaigns and identifying a distribution strategy.
Additionally, officials will look into any resources required to purchase and provide gun safety cable locks, gun safes and lock boxes, according to the county’s release.