Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced a new pilot program that makes up to two free gun locks available to adult residents at select library locations in the county.
“While state law preempts local jurisdictions from imposing certain gun restrictions, this program is one of the ways we are working to save lives by mitigating the risk of gun violence,” said County Executive Pittman. “I want to thank the Department of Health and the library system for continuing to find innovative ways to meet the needs of our communities.”
The program is led by the Department of Health’s Gun Violence Intervention Team (GVIT) in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) system, and is the first of its kind in the state. Beginning today, locks are available at the Glen Burnie Library, the Busch Annapolis Library and the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library.
“Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States,” said Dr. Tonii Gedin, Acting Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. “Gun violence is a public health issue, not a political one. It is an epidemic that needs to be addressed with research and evidence-based strategies that can reduce deaths and injuries.”
Research shows safe storage plays an important role in reducing the risk of gun violence, unintentional death and suicide. Approximately 4.6 million children in the United States live in a home with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm, and in 2022 there were at least 353 unintentional shootings involving children, resulting in 156 deaths and 212 injuries nationally. Numerous studies also show that individuals who died by suicide were more likely to live in homes with guns. The goal of the program is to mitigate the risk of harm or death by providing a free resource to gun owners that ensures firearms are secured.
“The library is a trusted community institution where residents can count on accurate information, high-quality educational tools and helpful resources,” said AACPL CEO Skip Auld. “We are proud to expand our partnership with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health through this important initiative.”
In addition to receiving a gun lock, gun owners will receive manufacturer instructions on how to use the gun lock, and a GVIT bookmark with a link to helpful information about safe gun storage, suicide prevention resources and other valuable information. The public is asked to refrain from bringing firearms into the library during gun lock pick up.
Funding for the locks was secured by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime, Prevention and Youth Victim Services.
For more information on the pilot program and other helpful tools and resources visit www.aahealth.org/GVIT.