ST. LOUIS — St. Louis officials and gun safety advocates are urging parents to lock up their guns with free locks being handed out throughout the city.
Summer camp registration started today for St. Louis, but it’s not the only thing being pushed for to protect the city’s kids. Gun locks are in high supply.
Right next to camp pamphlets, locks from the “Lock it For Love” program are displayed for parents to take home.
“Somebody’s trying to do something about it,” said parent Lafeka Shanks, who lives in south St. Louis. “I’m just like more protective. It shouldn’t be like this “
A recent spike in shootings involving kids happened within days of each other in the St. Louis area.
On March 25, a 14-year-old girl was live-streaming when she shot and killed her 12-year-old cousin before taking her own life with the same weapon. Later that week, a 10-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 12-year-old brother.
Then, most recently on Monday, a 3-year-old Swansea boy was transported to the hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the head.
Calling it an epidemic, a bishop at a church in north city, Pastor Terance Coleman, has seen his fair share of gun violence.
Just a few weeks ago, a stray bullet hit one of the church’s stained-glass windows and shattered a back wall. The bullet hole is still seen left behind.
“We had services one night and it was just like being in Beirut, all these gunshots,” said Greater Pentecostal Church Pastor Ternace Coleman.
That’s why he’s teaming up with Alderman Pamela Boyd and other gun safety advocates to start a campaign called “Lock It Up.”
“I’m not only preaching the gospel but also gun safety telling my parishioners to lock up these guns, put them away, educate our children and our babies because if you don’t you’re going to continue to have this epidemic that’s happening in the African- American community,” said Coleman.
The group’s media campaign is in its beginning stages but kicked off with the group’s first meeting on Tuesday.
“If it’s TikTok, if it’s Messenger, if it’s Facebook, if it’s Twitter, whatever we need to do to reach that group to make sure that they understand that leaving your gun laying around is not safe,” said Boyd.
After the campaign eventually starts, the group will focus on educational events throughout the city.
“We have to make kids feel that they’re the most important thing to us because they’re our future,” she said.
Pastor Coleman plans to hand out locks from the organization “Lock It for Love” that’s behind the locks being handed out by the city.
You can find them at not only the summer camp open houses but at dozens of St. Louis police and fire stations as well as city libraries.
To find a location near you, check out the group’s website: https://womensvoicesraised.Org/lifl-partners/