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City leaders urging responsible gun ownership amid spike in accidental shootings

Leaders hosting Free Gun Lock distribution event on Sunday at New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church
gun lock.jpg
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-28 18:44:10-04

INDIANAPOLIS — City leaders are urging Hoosiers to become responsible gun owners as they say the number of accidental shootings has tripled compared to this time last year.

“Each of these incidents have one thing in common: they are preventable,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor said. “Today, I’m urging gun owners to take advantage of this opportunity.”

On Sunday, city leaders are coming together to hand out roughly 600 free gun locks. The event will be held at New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church on Indy’s east side from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“Even when we offer them free of charge, people don’t give it enough thought. We are hoping that will change this go around,” Taylor said.

Taylor says that in 2023, there have been roughly three accidental homicides and 77 accidental non-fatal shootings. At this time in 2022, there had been one accidental homicide and 25 accidental non-fatal shootings.

“Typically, when you have a gun lock, the slide would be open and a cable would run through it, so the weapon can’t be fired with it in,” Taylor said.

The City of Indianapolis said of the 77 accidental non-fatal shootings that have occurred this year, 81% were involving the person handling the firearm themselves, while 19% were involving another person.

“While we can debate what has caused this sudden increase, we know one thing that can prevent it is people taking responsibility for their weapons,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Officials say that roughly a quarter of this year’s non-fatal accidental shootings have involved juveniles. They are urging gun owners to store their guns unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition.

“Sometimes what we have seen is that people don’t know how to properly clean their weapon. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting your weapon in your pants instead of a proper holster,” Taylor said.

One family knows firsthand how a gun lock can prevent a lot of pain and suffering.

According to IMPD, officers were called to the 7800 block Carlton Arms Drive just after 8 p.m. on May 8.

When they arrived, they found 19-year-old Austin Bunn suffering a gunshot wound to his head. Bunn was taken to a local hospital where he died on May 9.

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Austin Bunn

At the scene, Eric Salinas told officers he was taking the gun to Bunn’s room for help with cleaning it. When he went to hand Bunn the gun, he heard a pop.

Salinas told police he immediately saw Bunn “leaking” and began to render aid, according to court documents.

“He’s been chasing a career in law enforcement since probably about 5-years-old — We knew exactly the path he was going to take,” Christopher Bunn, Austin’s Father said.

 Austin’s Father just wants people to take gun ownership seriously.

“Gun safety is paramount. I raised Austin around firearms knowing how to safely clean one,” Christopher said.