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Public Officials, Law Enforcement Want Gun-Safety Innovation

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According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 58% of Illinois gun deaths in 2019 were homicides and 40% were suicides. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)
According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 58% of Illinois gun deaths in 2019 were homicides and 40% were suicides. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)
 By Lily Bohlke - Producer, Contact
April 28, 2021

CHICAGO - Unsecured guns are among the top contributors to the nation's gun=violence epidemic, and a coalition of public officials and law enforcement is putting out the call to create new safety technology.

Of the tens of millions of gun-owning households in the United States, said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, fewer than half store their guns securely. Startups in recent years have brought some potentially promising products to market, such as different kinds of personalized locks. Hain said these are being tested by law enforcement officers and firearms experts.

"We have to make guns childproof and as accident-proof as possible," he said. "In an age of technological innovation, this is not an unsolvable problem."

The Gun Safety Consortium wants to see more proposals for developing new technology to help private gun owners keep their weapons secure and help prevent gun-related crimes.

Hain said about 1,000 guns are stolen from private gun owners each day and often enter trafficking pipelines, fueling gun violence in cities.

"If you trace a gun found at a crime scene in Chicago," he said, "you might find it was stolen in a home break-in in Missouri a year earlier."

DiAne Boese, a spokesperson for the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, said the consortium is asking cities across the country to commit to working to make firearms more secure - particularly large-scale gun purchasers, such as police in Chicago or New York.

"We'll also begin work on the largest gun purchaser of all, the president of the United States," she said.

In 2019, there were more than 1,300 gun deaths in Illinois, including 179 children and teens, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

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