ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As legislative discussions surrounding firearms happen nationwide, safety is top of mind across the U.S. and in Colorado. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the Cherry Creek School District to provide free gun locks at area schools.
The district’s superintendent, Christopher Smith, said that ”responsible and safe gun storage in the home can save lives.” That is something both Arapahoe Sheriff Tyler Brown and the superintendent are hoping to do.
The sheriff’s office donated roughly 300 gun locks to the district.
“So it’s a padlock that has a cable on it,” Brown said. “And then it locks with a key. If people are going to bear arms, they need to do it responsibly.”
Just 1 gun incident can lead to ‘tragedy’
Brown said he was approached by Smith with the idea and wanted to be a part of the community effort.
“All it takes is one incident and one accidental lapse of judgment and we could be dealing with a tragedy,” Brown said.
It’s all in an effort to reduce the risk of an accidental discharge, but also other tragedies like teen suicide. Smith sent a letter to parents last week stating, in part: “Every year we lose students and staff in the district to gun violence, including suicide by firearm. Any single step we can take to prevent suicide and a life is worth taking a step.”
“Individuals who are in crisis sometimes take drastic measures, and if there’s a way that we can mitigate those and save someone from ultimately ending their life or drastically altering their life through one of these, then it served its purpose,” Brown said.
Now, gun locks and pamphlets are available in baskets at school for families, free of charge with no questions asked of parents. This is the latest effort, as schools adapt to the alarming rise of youth gun violence, which a study of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels as the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.
“It’s sad that kids have to deal with, essentially, grown-up issues,” Brown said. “Their voices are being heard.”
Gun safety in schools top of mind for students
The conversation about guns is one that’s now in classrooms, as schools have become targets of violence and threats. Five days ago, Denver Public Schools students at East High staged a walk-out and went to the state Capitol to demand action and share their fears of violence with lawmakers.
Brown said the gun locks are a small step in the right direction of safety.
“Handing out gun locks is not a pro-gun stance or anti-gun stance, it’s just a responsible gun ownership stance,” Brown said.
FOX31 checked in with the Cherry Creek School District on Wednesday, which said it’s “had a ton of parents take advantage of the free gun locks.”
Brown responded to the gun locks going fast and said it shows responsibility in the community, and more people frequent schools than the sheriff’s office, so it’s no surprise. He’s hoping to continue the partnership with the district in the future.