WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Police are warning parents of deadly dangers, and teaching them how to safely secure their guns from their children.
Tasman Maile was charged with child abuse homicide after West Valley City police say his 2-year-old son accidentally shot himself with a gun his father kept loaded and in arms reach with the safety off. The boy did not survive.
“Those are tragic. They are preventable,” said Sgt. Josh Browne with the Community Oriented Policing Unit for West Valley City Police.
According to Bullet Proof Kids, In Utah, only 56 percent of parents with guns keep all their guns loaded and locked away. 31 percent keep at least one unlocked and 13 percent keep at least one gun loaded.
“There are a few ways to keep guns safe and away from kids,” said Browne.
He showed Fox 13just how simple it is to safely store firearms and ammunition using a cable lock.
“Insert the cable through the top of the open port. Through the handle, place it in here. Once you turn the key, then you can pull it out. Without the key, it cannot be unlocked and it cannot accept a magazine," Brown said.
Cable locks are the most inexpensive way to secure a firearm. In fact, cable locks are included with most guns.
“If you want something a little more convenient, you can spend the money and get any of the products that are on the market – different safes that are designed for handguns and easy access, but still secure,” said Browne.
It’s not enough to just safely store your firearms. Browne suggests you talk with your children about what they should do if they come across a gun at a friend’s house.
Explain to young kids that real guns can kill or seriously injure people, unlike toy guns.
“That’s where the education comes in. Because I can control my house what I do there, but I can’t control what happens in other houses,” said Browne. “We’ve got to educate them that if you happen to see something like that, make sure you let an adult know, let me know and don’t touch it.”
West Valley City Police hand out free gun locks at community events and will provide hands-on training.
For more safety tips, visit: http://bulletproofkidsutah.org/