New Mexico pediatric clinics now offering free gun locks

UNM Children’s Hospital offering gun locks for families

To try and push back against a rise in firearm deaths among young people in New Mexico, UNM Children's Hospital is giving families to anyone who requests one.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s a problem we’ve seen far too often in New Mexico – children accidentally getting hurt or dying from a gunshot wound.

“It’s traumatizing when you see a child injured by something that has such lethality,” said Dr. Anna Duran, the associate chief medical officer for UNM Children’s Hospital.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, Dr. Duran said they saw 180 people, under the age of 17, come in with a gun-related injury that may have resulted in death. New Mexico Department of Health data shows that’s up from the year before when they saw 125 people.

To cut down on that number, UNM Children’s Hospital and NMDOH are giving away gun locks to anyone who needs them.

“It’s an emergency here in New Mexico. Guns are the leading cause of death of children in the state,” NMDOH Secretary Patrick Allen said. “This is a really easy way to ensure that their guns are safe and that they can lead to accidents and other tragedies.”

Aside from storing guns in a safe, vault or storage case, a gun lock is another level of protection. They say it prevents ammunition from entering the gun and keeps the gun in a locked position.

“I think it’s important to know that we are not tracking this. Our goal is to educate and get as many gun locks as we possibly can back out to our community to keep each other safe,” Dr. Duran said.

NMDOH is also providing free gun locks to all pediatric clinics across New Mexico. Click here to learn more.