Philadelphia officials, advocates urging gun owners to lock their weapons

"Got a gun, get a lock."

That's the motto of a new initiative by Philadelphia City Council, law enforcement agencies and those working to reduce deadly violence to encourage gun owners to lock their weapons.

The Philadelphia sheriff's office expects to give out more than 500 free gun locks Monday during National Night Out events and plans to distribute thousands more in the weeks to come.

During a news conference announcing the effort Monday morning, Council President Darrell Clarke said anyone can get one — no questions asked.

"We are not going to ask you to show ID or registration for your weapon because, frankly speaking, if someone wants to lock an illegal gun, I'm OK with that," he said. The city has spent about $2,000 purchasing gun locks so far, according to Clarke's spokeswoman Jane Roh.

Clarke and other advocates said the effort would help prevent children from accidentally shooting themselves or others — in June, a 4-year-old from North Philadelphia died after shooting herself in the head. Monday morning, Philadelphia police said a 5-year-old in Germantown shot himself in the hand and was reported in stable condition.

"It just takes a few seconds to unlock that gun," said Shira Goodman with Ceasefire PA. "But for the person who is contemplating suicide or is angry or is depressed at that moment, the couple seconds it takes to unlock that gun could mean the difference between their life and death or somebody else's."

Gun owners who would like a free lock can get one by calling the city's Safe Storage Hotline, 215-686-3572, even if the weapon was purchased illegally or is not registered.

Free gun locks will also be distributed during National Night Out events at the following locations:

Fair Hill Square Park
4th and Lehigh Street
5 to 8 p.m.

Rose Playground
North 75th Street and Lansdowne Avenue
6 to 8:30 p.m.

32nd and Cumberland streets
5 to 8:45 p.m.

Written by Katie Colaneri for Newsworks.