Free gun locks could have kept kids alive - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Free gun locks could have kept kids alive

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A Memphis mother and her boyfriend are facing charges after her 4-year-old son died Feb. 11 after the supposedly hidden gun he was playing with actually fired.

The outcome may have been different if she would have taken the Memphis Police Department up on its offer of free gun locks.

"In this situation, it's such an easy fix to keep that gun in a safe place where it's out of the reach of children and keep it secured so they can't pull that trigger," said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

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There's no reason why these deadly incidents need to happen, DA Weirich added.

Jessica Johnson was charged with reckless homicide while her boyfriend, Clarence Coleman, has been charged with reckless endangerment.

"There are consequences for your actions and under the law of the State of Tennessee in particular, when you're talking about children there are consequences for your actions," Weirich said.

The gun locks are free if you ask the police department, DA Weirich added.

Colonel Arley Knight, a 25-year MPD veteran, said when it comes to children, if they find your gun, fire it, and get hurt - or even die - parents can't just say they thought it was hidden and it was an accident.

"I believe the last two or three incidents we've had this year and over the last few months where a small child was shot either themselves or someone else, it could not have happened it would not have happened if one of these locking mechanisms was on the weapon," he said.

Officers say even if there is a bullet left in the chamber of your gun, the weapon will not fire as long as a gun lock is attached.

"There's absolutely no way it can," Col. Knight said.

You can't ask a child to be responsible for their actions, but you can an adult, DA Weirich said.

Col. Knight said a simple gun lock would have stopped Joshua's curiosity.

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