Free gun locks available after 9-year-old shot and killed

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - After the tragic shooting death of a 9-year-old girl, community activists went door to door Monday night to hand out free gun locks in the neighborhood where the young girl died. 

According to Milwaukee Police, Miyanna Jelks’ brother accidentally shot and killed Miyanna Saturday inside their home near 38th and Ruby, where a total of seven children lived. 

The Love Up, Lock Down campaign has been active in Milwaukee for about two years but this weekend's tragedy made it even more urgent. 

"We just try to wish and hope and pray that this comes to an end," said Aerion Steward, the president of WestCare Wisconsin's Youth Action Council. 

He along with chaplains from the Salvation Army and representatives from the City's Office of Violence Prevention handed out the free locks Monday.  

"We're trying to end all tragedies especially with youth and firearms," he said. "There are gun locks available." 

The campaign handed out 600 free locks last year. They are hoping to give out about 300 this week alone. The locks are either donated or funded through grants. 

"Given that the fact there are so many guns in our community, it's really important that people take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of children in our community," said Reggie Moore, the director of the City's Office of Violence Prevention. 

Moore added the importance of talking to children about gun safety. 

Jakel McCollum Mattox, 9 and his brother, Jamari, 11, both said their mother talks to them often about staying away from guns. 

"She tell us don't touch guns because you are too young to touch them and you might do something dangerous," said Jakel. 

David Reynolds lives in the same neighborhood where Miyanna Jelks was killed and took one of the free gun locks Monday night. 

He also said he talks to his young kids about gun safety. 

"We don't even purchase toy pistols, none of that kind of stuff," he said. "If they have the toy, play with it, and when they get their hands on the real thing, they don't think of the consequences." 

There are several locations handing out free gun locks, including Milwaukee Police District 2 at 245 W. Lincoln Ave. and District 7, 3626 W. Fond du Lac Ave. 

Locks will also be available at West Care Wisconsin's office at 335 W. Wright or at any of the following City of Milwaukee Health Centers: 

  • Keenan Health Center, 3200 N. 36th St. 
  • Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd. 
  • Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St. 

There is no ID required to get a gun lock. There is a limit of three locks per household. 

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