Police in Memphis, Tennessee, are doing their part to ensure they never have another weekend like the last. Over the course of three days, three children were shot, two of them fatally.
On Saturday, a 4-year-old accidentally shot and killed himself after his father left out his 9mm handgun. The next day, an 8-year-old accidentally shot himself in the side and chest after finding his father’s firearm under a pillow. He, too, died from his wounds.
On Friday, another 4-year-old was shot. However, police have not yet revealed whether she accidentally shot herself or was shot by someone else. Thankfully, the young girl is in stable condition.
According to Fox 13, Memphis has had more accidental shootings involving children than any other city in the country. And, after this tragic weekend, Memphis police have decided to do something about it.
“As a parent myself, I find this very heartbreaking to see this happen to anybody’s child,” Officer Marion Hannah, who is also a firearms instructor, tells News Channel 3. “You want to do everything you can to protect your children, and if you’re a gun owner, you have to be a responsible gun owner.”
So, on Monday, the department held a firearms safety session to remind residents what, exactly, it means to be a responsible gun owner. The main takeaway: lock up your guns, especially if there are children in the house.
To make things easier, all precincts in the Memphis area are giving away free gun locks – no strings attached.
But, as Officer Hannah notes, you should do more than just lock up your gun.
“Education is extremely important,” Hannah tells Fox 13. “Talk to [your kids] about [guns]. Show them what’s what and it will keep them away from it.”
If you’re unsure where to start, you can always reference the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, which outlines the four things your kids should to do if they come across a firearm: “STOP, Don’t Touch, Run Away, and Tell A Grown-up.”
When speaking with News Channel 3, Hannah adds that if you don’t feel comfortable educating your child yourself – even with the help of Eddie Eagle – you can always take them to a local firearm safety course.