MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One minute of time could equal one life saved. That's what was being preached to gun owners in Memphis Tuesday as Project ChildSafe, along with the City of Memphis and the Department of Justice handed out free gun locks to those who wanted them.
FOX13 was on hand at the Glenview Community Center where gun locks were being handed out.
We found out close to 2,600 gun locks have now found new homes. That's a lot of gun locks, but when you think about the recent rash of accidental child shootings in the Mid-South, 6 in the last 6 months, something had to be done before another child becomes a victim, and an accidental shooting statistic.
"It's a matter of life and death. You can't put it any other way," said Bill Romanelli from Project ChildSafe.
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Young, old, men and women -- People from all backgrounds came out on Tuesday to help put an end to a growing problem in the Mid-South, accidental child shootings. Memphis was one of three cities nationwide chosen.
"This was of course before the rash of accidents over the last couple of weeks that actually accelerated our efforts on this program, and we started earlier than anticipated," added Romanelli.
"Thank goodness FOX13 did some news reports on these tragic events that really opened the eyes of a lot of people," said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who was also on hand for the gun lock give away.
People came for curiosity. Some came with their weapons for instruction. One man came because he had experienced the tragedy of an accidental gun shooting through a friend and wanted to avoid the same tragedy happening to his son.
"We don't let him play with toy guns at all. I would like to see him live out a full and lengthy life, and it's my responsibility as a parent," Jemmario Redmon said.
"As a child 4 or 5 years old, I used to slide down that hill right outside the door on cardboard," said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings. He grew up in the Glenview area and for him, gun safety hits very close to home. As a kid, he got a hold of a gun.
"I don't know how old I was. I just remember getting a hold of my father's gun and pulling the trigger," said Rallings.
Six kids in the Mid-South, just in the last 6 months, weren't as lucky as Rallings, but the police director has advice for those who picked up gun locks on Tuesday.
"I don’t need parents just to come in here and get gun locks. I need you to use it," Rallings said emphatically.
Even though a lot of people did not receive gun locks on Tuesday, no worries.
The people from Project ChildSafe said they have allotted 10,000 gun locks over the next 12 months, specifically for Memphis. Gun locks will be made available to those who need them.