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Free gun locks at St. Louis hospitals, but few know about it

St. Louis hospitals are now distributing free gunlocks to help reduce firearm injuries, but only 15% of St. Louis adults surveyed have heard about the initiative. African American community members were more likely to have heard about it than Whites (26% vs 9%).

On June 2, 2023, SSM Health joined 8 other hospitals across the St. Louis region in providing free gunlocks in their emergency, pediatrics, and urgent care facilities. According to Dr. Christopher Blewett, Trauma Medical Director at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, the gun locks are freely available with no questions asked. They will be placed in baskets at SSM Health emergency departments and pediatrics clinic waiting rooms (SSM Health).

One in five firearm injuries are unintended and preventable (CDC). Unsafe gun storage accounts for a significant proportion of unintended shootings, especially among children (British Medical Journal). Gun locks help to prevent unintended firearm injury by making guns inoperable.

BJC Healthcare (BJC Healthcare) is also expanding access to gunlocks in all their locations. Free gun locks are also available at local fire stations and certain library locations (City of St. Louis).

This week’s report is based on 160 responses from a panel of adult residents of St. Louis City and County surveyed from Saturday, June 10, to Monday, June 12, 2023. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

Visit iHeardSTL.org to learn more.

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