Gun safety expert gives tips for storage

The Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff's Office are teaming up with Project Childsafe, a program that provides gun locks to owners. (MGN)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - James Henry has taught gun safety for five years, and in that time, he's passed along some important lessons.

“Add that extra layer,” Henry says. “The extra layer is what's gonna protect against...not necessarily your children, but maybe somebody else's children."

Between 2013 and 2017, there were 19 deaths caused by accidental gunshot wounds in Alaska, and over one-third of them were children 14 or younger.

A recent close call occurred on Wednesday morning, when a four-year-old girl grabbed a loaded handgun that had been left on the kitchen counter.

Practicing proper gun storage can help prevent deaths like these in the future. Henry says the most important part of gun storage is considering what the guns will be used for and who can use them.

“In my home personally, it's about personal defense,” Henry says. “I have one other person that lives with me, and I have some animals and whatnot. I don't have any small children running around, so the access, for me, has to limit access just to myself."

For families that have children, Henry recommends carrying the weapon on your person, or keeping it somewhere you, but not your children, can access quickly.

“There are things like quick-access safes where you can digitally punch in a quick 3-digit code, or biometric, where you can just literally plant your hand on it,” Henry says. “It reads your fingerprints, and it opens the safe very quickly."

The best way for gun owners to keep themselves and their families safe is to keep learning.

“Techniques change,” Henry says. “Technology changes, laws change, rules and regs change, and we have to always be on top of those things to make sure that we're always on the good side of that fence."

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