City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Safe Gun Storage Saves Lives campaign will connect residents with education and gun locks
AUSTIN, Texas – Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), under Austin Public Health, has partnered with Lock Arms for Life to launch a public health campaign with an emphasis on gun storage to reduce violence in our community.
The Safe Gun Storage Saves Lives campaign will work to connect Austin-Travis County residents with education, as well as gun locks, to bring awareness to the importance of firearm storage. Data suggests that a modest increase in the number of Americans that safely store firearms could prevent almost a third of youth gun deaths due to suicide and unintentional firearm injury.
“Investing in safe storage is a proven way to prevent Austin residents from experiencing violence,” OVP Manager Michelle Myles said. “Access to gun locks and understanding how and why to use them can make an immediate difference in a home. Safe storage supports many of the OVP’s approaches, including preventing the stress response from escalating harmful thinking to gun violence.”
The campaign involves several partners, including the Austin Police Department, and will reach residents through the following:
-Messaging about the importance of safe gun storage launched in time for SXSW traffic.
-Making education and free gun locks readily available at events and through the campaign’s website.
“We’re excited to take part in a campaign that will help keep everyone, from adults to children, safe around firearms,” said Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Preventative efforts like this save everyone from the traumatic experiences that can happen when guns aren’t stored safely.”
When OVP launched in 2021, one of the first contracts developed was a public education campaign with Lock Arms for Life. Leesa Ross, director of Lock Arms for Life lost her college-age son to a gun tragedy while he was away at school. His death was preventable had the gun been stored safely. Ross’ vision for this campaign was to bring together public health and public safety, showing common ground on gun safety and expanding the reach of the message by leveraging greater funding and connections.
“Safe gun storage starts at home. At Lock Arms we like to say, ‘If it doesn’t have a home safe, it’s not a safe home,’” Ross said. “Partnering with the Office of Violence Prevention and other agencies invested in the safety of our community means more guns are locked, more kids are protected from accidents and suicide, and stolen firearms are less likely to be used by criminals. We all benefit from safe storage.”
In February 2020, Council Member Paige Ellis introduced 20200206-053, a resolution directing the City Manager to identify funding sources and partnerships for a prospective public safety awareness campaign on safe firearm storage. Council Sponsors included Council Member Ellis, Council Member Alison Alter, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison and Council Member Kathie Tovo.