State agencies to hand out free gun locks at MN state fair

State agencies to hand out free gun locks at MN state fair
Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

I’ve yet to meet someone who thinks guns shouldn’t be secured when not in use. While there may be some variance as to what constitutes “in use,” everyone seems to agree locking your guns up is a good idea.

On a slightly different but related note, though, it seems that while the Minnesota State Fair is keeping guns out, they won’t be keeping gun locks out.

Not with state agencies being the ones handing them out, anyway.

State agencies will be handing out free gun locks at the Minnesota State Fair.

It’s part of “Make Minnesota Safe & Secure,” an initiative spearheaded by Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan to ensure every gun owner in Minnesota has a gun lock to help store firearms in a safe and secure manner.

“As a veteran and lifelong hunter, I am committed to safe and responsible gun ownership,” says Governor Walz. “By making gun locks free and accessible at the Minnesota State Fair, we are helping more gun owners keep themselves, their loved ones, and their communities safe.”

The initiative, which is part of a $1 million investment in gun safety paid for with federal American Rescue Plan funds, includes the departments of public safety, health, agriculture, natural resources, veterans affairs and other state agencies.

“Last year, our state experienced an alarming increase in aggravated assaults and murders—most committed with a firearm,” says Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington. “We also saw more than 1,700 guns stolen, and the thefts and shootings aren’t just occurring in large cities. They’re happening across the state. Our goal is for all Minnesota gun owners to understand how and why to use gun locks and to get a gun lock into the hands of every gun owner who doesn’t already have one—and there’s no better place to start than the Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

Now, I’m fine with handing out the locks. It’ll help some people, I’m sure. If nothing else, they may keep curious little hands from hurting themselves.

But let’s not get carried away here. These locks aren’t going to stop bad actors from stealing guns and using them illegally.

They’re locks and they might slow someone down trying to get the gun usable, but for a criminal, it’s a minor stumbling block. These aren’t going to do much except delay how long they have to wait before selling it to someone else.

These locks are generally the inexpensive type that looks like a glorified bike lock. While they’re not particularly easy to remove without a key, they’re not overly challenging, either.

Harrington can quote all the crime statistics he wants, but these locks don’t seem to have much of an impact. After all, they’ve been mandated to be included with new firearms since 2005, which means most gun owners have at least one.

If they haven’t prevented those statistics, it’s unlikely handing them out like free pens will do much either. At least the pens are useful.

In and of itself, I don’t care about these free locks. Provide them so people can get them if they want or need them. That’s fine.

Just don’t try to delude people into thinking that you’re actually addressing violent crime with this.