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With six children shot in Detroit so far this year, police offer free gun locks

DPD Chief James White 3.png
Michigan Radio
During a press conference when he shared crime statistics, Detroit Police Chief James White said he believes gun-related enforcement has contributed to a decline in violent crime.

Detroit and Wayne County leaders are urging people to lock up their guns.

"Detroit’s babies are getting shot in record numbers for us," said Detroit Police Chief James White at a news conference Tuesday.

He said that six children have been shot so far this year. The youngest shooting victims were 2 years old.

White, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, and Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington announced that Detroit police will begin giving away gun locks for free.

The gun locks will be available at every Detroit precinct and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Headquarters, the officials said. Officers will also deliver the gun locks to peoples homes if needed, free of charge.

Worthy said 22 shootings in the past few years could have been prevented if gun owners had locked up their weapons.

She said children found those guns unsecured in homes, backyards, and cars of lawful gun owners.

"I’m not talking about in a place like a locked closet. I’m talking about in a crib, I’m talking about in a bottom dresser drawer that remains open," she said. "On the coffee table, under the bed, under the pillow, and really one of the most egregious places was on top of the Gameboy console where the children play."

Worthy said she's been advocating for Child Safety Access Laws that would impose automatic penalties for adults when children get hold of their guns. She said that right now it seems that these laws "have a chance in Hades of passing in Michigan."

After kids have gotten access to adults' guns, the prosecutor's office has been charging the adults with careless, reckless, or negligent use of a firearm, child abuse, and even sometimes involuntary manslaughter, Worthy said.

Briana Rice is a reporter/producer operating out of Detroit.