UHealth Leaders Urge Gun Safety at Free Gun Lock Distribution

University of Miami pediatricians and other leaders were joined by law enforcement and education leaders on the UM/Jackson Memorial campus on Thursday, December 4, to make a public plea to parents and other adults to be responsible and always use firearm safety measures. While there, the Miami-Dade Police Department also distributed free gun locks.

“This is about hundreds of children who didn’t need to die, because accidental firearm injuries happen all the time, at the rate of hundreds every year,” said Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“From 2012 to 2013, more than 100 children died as a result of careless storage of firearms,” said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Sixty-five percent died at home or in their cars.”

Carlos A. Migoya, President and CEO of Jackson Health System, added, “Accidents do happen, especially with kids. Adults can prevent them almost completely.”

“We have one mission: to keep people’s children safe,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “Statistics show that firearm injury is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 18. Do you have firearms in the home? If you do, what do you do to make them safe? Being able to answer those questions is critical so patients can protect themselves.”

One of the best ways to prevent a firearm accident is to keep weapons stored safely before they reach places where children live and play. If a parent or other gun owner keeps weapons where children live or visit, then the gun should be locked, either in a safe or with a gun lock.

“This is an injury that can easily be prevented with a gun lock,” Schaechter said. “Our pediatricians will continue to educate about gun locks, and gun locks will be made available to our patients when they see us.”

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