New campaign encourages safe gun ownership
Local officials are handing out thousands of free gun safes and urging Houstonians to secure their firearms at home and in their cars as part of a new gun safety campaign lunched today. FOX 26’s Natalie Hee reports more on what the initiative involves.
HOUSTON – Local officials are handing out thousands of free gun safes to encourage Houstonians to secure their firearms.
It’s part of a new gun safety billboard campaign launched in Houston on Thursday.
According to the CDC, guns are now the leading cause of death for kids under 18.
“My 14-year-old daughter, Adrienne Lambert, was shot and killed by my best friend’s son in their Deer Park home. It’s been my mission since then to teach adults to safely secure their firearms because it was so preventable what happened to my daughter,” said Marentha Sargent.
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According to Houston Gun Safety, every year, 350 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 get their hands on a gun and unintentionally shoots themselves or someone else.
“There was a gun safe 15 yards away from where they left their gun out, so it’s very important for us adults to protect our children and lock up our firearms,” Sargent said.
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In some cases, firearms are stolen and used intentionally, like in the case at Santa Fe High School where 10 people were killed and 13 were wounded.
“Secure gun storage is vital for preventing guns getting into our schools. Two-thirds of K-12 shooters acquire the firearm in their parents’ home, like the Santa Fe High School shooter,” said Karin Knapp, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action.
Last year, HPD says a record high of more than 4,400 guns were stolen from cars, and many of those weapons were then used to commit other crimes. Officials are now urging residents to lock up their firearms and keep records of their serial numbers, so law enforcement can track them down if it’s stolen.
“What we’re asking is for everyone to photograph all their guns of make, model, and serial number, keep it on your phone,” said Fred Milanowski, Special Agent in Charge with ATF Houston.
Farha Ahmed with the Minaret Foundation stood at the news conference Thursday in memory of 17-year-old Sabika Sheikh, a foreign exchange student from Pakistan who was one of 10 people shot and killed at Santa Fe High School.
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“In 2018, she left only her blood and tears in Texas, as she was buried in Pakistan near her family,” Ahmed said.
“It’s not fair to those people that they sent a foreign exchange student over here to learn and to grow, and we killed her,” said Scot Rice. His wife, Flo, was also shot during that massacre but survived.
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This past Tuesday, they traveled to the State Capitol with other victims’ families from Santa Fe and Uvalde to lobby for several gun safety reform bills including safe storage, increasing the legal purchasing age to 21, or increasing the waiting period.
“If you’re going to sell guns to 18-year-olds, how about a waiting period? So, the like the Uvalde shooter went in two days in a row and bought, you know, 4,000 rifles, 900 rounds one time and 1000 rounds another time. And there should be a waiting period until you’re 21. In that 30-day waiting period, you know they could have looked into him and see what was going on in his life,” Rice said.
Last week, Santa Fe families won a lawsuit against an ammo retailer LuckyGunner, who apparently sold more than 100 rounds to the underaged shooter in 2018. The settlement now requires the company to verify the age of all ammo buyers, especially when it’s purchased online.
Rice said he’s helping to lobby for SB 914, which would essentially mirror that lawsuit.
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