Lindsey Graham stops in Columbia to push for child gun locks

Published: Jan. 21, 2014 at 9:52 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2014 at 9:52 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - US Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Tuesday that child gun deaths and accidents are at a record low. The news comes just as South Carolina lawmakers are contemplating two bills aimed at increasing gun rights in the Palmetto State.

You already lock up your home, your car, maybe even your prescription medications. Gun advocates say why should your firearms be any different?

"This will work," said Graham. "Children who find guns in the home should find them unloaded and locked."

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott relayed a story of a fellow deputy's son.

"The son of one of our deputies was killed when his friend picked up a gun, played with it and accidentally shot our deputies son, so we've seen the tragedy," said Lott.

Preventing tragedies like this is key. Close to 100 million gun locks have been distributed by "Project Child Safe" and gun manufacturers across the nation say statistics show the gun locks are making a difference.

"Accidents with firearms have declined 25 percent during the last 15 years to a century long low," said Steve Sanetti with the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Even still, the latest numbers released from the Centers for Disease Control show in 2011, nearly 900 people across the nation were killed by the accidental discharge of a firearm.

In the meantime, state lawmakers got closer to expanding gun rights in South Carolina after the Senate passed a controversial bill.

"It's not a massive change to our gun laws. It's just allowing -- again -- law-abiding citizens to carry in restaurants just like they can now carry in grocery stores and dry cleaners and everything else out there," said Sen. Sean Bennett.

But as the discussion continues lawmakers and gun advocates agree: gun safety is the priority.

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