here have been over 40 mass shooting events in the United States during the month of January. To further combat the recent string of gun violence among youths, St. Louis Children’s Hospital has begun giving away free gun locks to anyone who needs them – no questions asked, CNN reports.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital saw the average number of those seeking treatment for gunshot wounds increase by 50 percent, according to St. Louis Public Radio. Last year, 1,672 children and teens were killed by gun violence and 4,476 were injured.
Nearly 5,000 locks have been taken from the “No Questions Asked” basket, which also holds pamphlets explaining how to properly store firearms. The initiative aims to reduce the stigma of addressing gun violence.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital isn’t the only hospital that has recently addressed gun violence. Over the course of 2022, over one dozen of hospitals and other healthcare facilities signed a gun safety campaign led by New Hyde Park that aims to reduce deaths caused by guns among children. The campaign promises to teach community members the important of asking family and friends whether they have unlocked guns in their homes and how to safely store weapons.
Meanwhile, in June 2022, the CEOs of The Permanente Medical Group, Northwell Health and Children’s Minnesota signed a letter to the senate urging them to take action on gun control.
“We urge the Senate to take immediate action,” according to the letter. “Gun violence can be prevented. Our families, our communities, and our places of business are depending on you. Stand with us and the American public. Put the safety of your constituents and their children first. Transcend partisanship and work together to pass bold legislation to address gun violence in our country.”
Shortly after the Uvalde school shooting that occurred last May, a bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement on principle for gun safety legislation, which includes “needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” according to CNN. The legislation also includes a “red flag provision” that allows for the government to provide resources to states and tribes to ‘create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves and others.”
Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor for Healthcare Facilities Today.