FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno Police Department has made its latest effort to prevent accidental deaths, and injuries, to children who gain access to weapons that aren’t properly stored.
Tuesday, the department provided 300 free gun locks to Valley Children’s Hospital.
Firearm injury is the top cause of death in children and teens around the country. That tragedy is seen everywhere, and Fresno is no exception.
Last June, three-year-old Bryson Vang died after he found his father’s gun, and accidentally shot himself. The next day, an eight-year-old boy, also in Fresno, was hospitalized after he shot himself in the hand.
The Fresno Police Department has continued its pledge to cut down on such incidents, with things like gun locks, gun storage, and safety education.
“We’d rather just prevent that all together,” said Chief Paco Balderrama, “and I think the best way of doing that is just through education, prevention, and just distributing these gun locks.”
It’s all a part of the department’s partnership with Valley Children’s Hospital, and Project ChildSafe, a nationwide program that provides free gun locks and firearm education resources.
“The second that they start to get mobile, they explore, that’s their job,” said Kristina Pasma,
Trauma Nurse Liason at Valley Children’s Hospital and SafeKids Central California Representative.
“We want to make sure that the home is a safe place for them to be able to explore and to play, and to do all the things that kids are supposed to do,” she said.
The process to lock a firearm is as easy as can be. We saw in a demonstration today, you simply remove the magazine, or any ammo in the gun, and feed the lock through the chamber, or upper receiver, and out the other side. Then you can just lock it, and the gun cannot go off. It works on all types of guns, not just handguns.
“Public safety is not a political thing. You know, keeping children safe should not be political, it should be common sense,” said Chief Balderrama.
Since the back-to-back incidents in June of 2021, there have been no reported incidents of children being injured or killed after they accessed firearms inside a home.