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Allegheny Co. Sheriff's Department Offers Free Gun Locks

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department is partnering with the gun industry’s main trade group to encourage safe gun practices in Pittsburgh.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provided the Sheriff’s Department with free cable gun locks to distribute to gun-owners, with officials saying it’s the best way to prevent firearm accidents.

The organization said it has provided 37 million locks to law enforcement agencies across the country, including to Norma Kutscher who owns a 380 Ruger.

“I actually have it in a box because I just got it recently,” Kutcher said.

She said it’s the original box that came with the gun when she bought it a year ago and she keeps it loaded in her closet.

NSSF President and CEO Steven Sanetti said there were approximately 500 accidental firearms deaths last year, 70 involving children. But he said those numbers are improving. The most recently available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show similar numbers: 505 people died from accidental gun deaths in 2013, 69 of whom were between the ages of 0 to 14

“The culture is shifting,” Sanetti said. “Whereas maybe 30 years ago, it might have been, ‘OK, my kids know enough to leave the guns alone and I just have them hung up on a peg on the wall.’ Generally speaking, that’s not the case anymore.”

Kutscher said learning about gun safety options is helpful, especially a lockbox. She said she plans to get one so she can get to her gun quickly for self-protection, but she’ll use her new cable lock until then.

“I don’t want to take any further chances with it,” Kutscher said.

Sanetti said in addition to protecting children, locking up guns and making them more difficult to access and help reduce the leading cause of firearms deaths: suicide.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of firearms deaths in the U.S. are the result of suicide