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Safe firearm storage saves lives

Health Promotion Coordinator Jennifer Halverson Kuehn
by Jennifer Halverson Kuehn12/11/2019 3:33 p.m.
Updated: 12/16/2019

Kids are naturally curious. They are eager to explore and learn about the world around them. Sometimes, that exploration can have tragic consequences. 

Every day, an unlocked or unsupervised firearm in the home unintentionally injures or kills eight children and teens. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calls it “Family Fire.” Learn more about firearm deaths in Pierce County.

Keep them safe. Lock them up.

The most effective way to keep firearms out of the hands of young people is to lock and store them. According to a study the Journal of the American Medical Association published, secure firearms reduce:

  • Accidental shootings by 85 percent.
  • Suicide risk by 78 percent. 

 Store Firearms Safely Handout

This December, we partnered with Sportco to promote safe firearm storage. Get your free lockbox or trigger lock at one of these events:

  • Dec. 14, 10 a.m.-noon, at Sportco in Fife.
  • Dec. 19 and 23, noon-2 p.m., at the South Hill Mall (by the MultiCare Immunization Clinic).

At the events, you’ll learn about the importance and effectiveness of safe firearm storage, especially for homes with children and teens. We’ll show you how to use a lockbox or a trigger lock. Receive one device per person, two per household. You must be 18 years old or older and sign a liability waiver. Learn other ways to prevent injuries in your home or community.

Everyone should live a long, healthy, and safe life.

Suicide deaths often go up around the holidays. According to the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey, too many Pierce County teens experience despair. Among 10th graders:

  • 27 percent reported they considered attempting suicide in the past year.
  • 22 percent reported they made a suicide plan.
  • 13 percent reported they attempted suicide in the past year.  
  • 66 percent reported they felt nervous or anxious in the past two weeks.

One of the best things you can do for your family is ensure anyone in distress does not have access to things that can cause death easily, like firearms and medication. If you or anyone you know needs help, trained professionals are a text or phone call away:

  • Crisis Text Line—741741.
  • Pierce County Crisis Line—(800) 576-7764.
  • Mental Health Resources Navigation—2-1-1.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—(800) 273-TALK.

For immediate help during a life-threatening crisis, call 911.

Play it safe.

This holiday season, do your part to secure all firearms and protect your family, including those curious kids. Use the triple safe storage method:

  • Unload firearms.
  • Use a firearm-specific lock.
  • Store ammunition separately.

Learn more about playing it safe with your firearms at

  1. Updated: 12/16/2019
Health Promotion Coordinator Jennifer Halverson Kuehn

by Jennifer Halverson Kuehn

Jennifer promotes healthy living through physical activity with safety in mind.


We invite your comments but will delete those with profanity, personal attacks, derogatory statements, ads or promotional material. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not provide personal medical advice; please contact your health care provider.