HOUSTON (KTRK) -- In the past four days, three young children have been shot accidentally in the Houston and Harris County area. Two of those shootings were fatally, from self-inflicted gunshots. Harris County officials are now making a plea to gun owners.
In the latest incident, a six-year-old boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition after being shot by his five-year-old brother, according to Harris County Constable Ron Hickman's office. To help prevent further tragedies, his office will make gun locks available free of charge "until we run out of locks!"
"We will be able to provide families, who appear in person, with information pertaining to firearms safety along with instruction on how to install these gun locks. Firearm accidents happen much too frequently and it is important for our citizens who choose to own firearms, to understand the benefits as well as the consequences of gun ownership," Constable Hickman said.
Authorities recommend that any firearms kept in your home should be stored in a locked gun vault, safe or storage case and should always be kept out of the reach of children. Law enforcement also recommends the use of gun locks for added safety, and ammunition should always be stored separately from the firearms in a locked location.
These locks may be obtained by contacting the Harris County Constable Pct. 4 Training Division at 281-401-6372, Monday- Friday between the hours of 8am-5pm. Adults must show up in person to obtain up to two free gun locks per family and visit with a member of the training division staff.
"If we can prevent one person from being killed or hurt from firearm accidents through the distribution of these free gun locks, then we have met our challenge," Constable Hickman said.
Under Texas law, an offense is committed if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal negligence: (1) failed to secure the firearm; or (2) left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person.