Denver gun locks 2 020120

A portion of the 1,200 gun locks supplied by Project ChildSafe and the Denver Police Department. The locks will be handed out across multiple locations in Denver as part of the city's multipronged plan to help curb youth gun violence. 

As part of Denver's plan to help curb youth violence, at least seven locations across the city are giving out free gun locks to keep illegal firearms out of the hands of young people.

Mayor Michael Hancock announced the giveaway of 1,200 gun locks during a press conference on Saturday morning at New Hope Baptist Church. The locks were supplied by Project ChildSafe and the Denver Police Department.

“Youth are getting access to unsecured guns, and incidents are escalating with tragic results," Hancock said. “We want to empower every resident to make a difference. Grabbing a free gun lock and securing a weapon is one action we can all take right now to keep young people safe.”

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In 2019, at least 570 guns were stolen from cars and homes in the City and County of Denver, said Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen. Although that figure represents a nearly 11% decrease in gun theft since 2017, he said it’s still too many.

“We cannot pause and pat ourselves on the back,” he said. “This is something that is 100 percent preventable.”

Glenn Garcia, a pastor at New Hope Ministries of Central Denver, said he has officiated numerous services for young people “whose lives have gone too quickly.”

He said, while he doesn’t believe free gun locks will single-handedly solve the city’s youth violence problem, he thinks the safety measure will have a positive impact “not only on violence perpetrated from one young person to another, but on self-inflicted violence, whether accidental or intentional.”

Juan Lopez, who owns the Denver-based gun shop Shooter Ready LLC, said the giveaway is “a great idea.”

“Every firearm that is sold through a dealer is required by federal law to have a gun lock on it,” he said. But in private party transactions, gun locks aren’t always included.

“So, the city offering the gun locks is a good thing,” Lopez said, “although [the chance of] people utilizing them is pretty slim to none.”

Another gun shop owner, Chris Jandro of Hammer Down Firearms in Wheat Ridge, said that Denver’s “feel-good” initiative is “not going to make any impact.”

Instead, Jandro said, Hancock should talk to gun dealers and try to put forward laws “that would actually have an effect on gun violence.”  

Lesley Hollywood, founder of the pro-gun advocacy group Rally for Our Rights, said that gun owners already can walk into any police department across the state and get a free gun lock.

"This isn't a novel idea," she told Colorado Politics in a statement. "If Hancock's goal was truly about awareness, he'd be talking about that too instead of pretending this is a brand new idea that can only be achieved on this one Sunday."

Between 2016 and 2019, Denver experienced a 160% increase in juveniles charged with possession of a handgun, according to court statistics. Just last year, five kids were charged with first-degree murder.

The city is considering numerous ways to intervene, including creating a specialized court within Denver’s judicial system and investing in resources outside of the justice system to address the root causes of youth violence.

As part of its multipronged approach, free gun locks will be available at the following locations on Feb. 2:

  • New Hope Ministries of Central Denver, 90 Knox Ct.
    • Time: beginning at 10 a.m.
  • New Beginnings Ministries, 5200 Tejon St.
    • Time: beginning at 10:30 a.m.
  • His Love Fellowship, 910 Kalamath St.
    • Time: After 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services
  • Anchor of Hope, 2101 N. High St.
    • Time: beginning at 11 a.m.
  • House of Purpose, 8720 E. Colfax Ave.
    • Time: beginning at 10:30 a.m.
  • Church in the City, 1580 N. Gaylord St.
    • Time: beginning at 10 a.m.
  • Christian Riders in Faith, 3423 West Colfax
    • Time: beginning at 2 p.m.

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