UPDATE: According to an email from Janet Hill, interim administrator for the Rock Island County Health Department, they have more gun locks available, thanks to the Rock Island Sheriff’s Department. Another shipment is expected from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

EARLIER: Due to the popularity of the program, the Rock Island County Health Department has temporarily run out of gun locks. They have ordered more and will announce when they arrive.

EARLIER: The Rock Island County Health Department is handing out free gun locks, no questions asked, to area gun owners. The “Together for a Safer Illinois” program’s goal is to make gun locks readily available to prevent tragedies such as accidental shootings, gun violence, gun thefts and suicide. The locks are provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Gun owners can pick up free gun locks at the health department, 2112 25th Avenue in Rock Island, Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Deputies with the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department will have locks available in their patrol cars. Locks include installation instructions for autoloading pistols, revolvers, auto loading and pump-action shotguns, bolt action rifles, modern sports rifles and single-action revolvers. The locks also come with information about the national 988 suicide and crisis lifeline. The health department collects no information from people who obtain a lock there.

“The CDC reports an estimated 4.6 million children live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns,” said Janet Hill, interim administrator of the Rock Island County Health Department. “Children are curious and don’t understand risk. Having an unsecured gun increases the chances of tragedy. Having an unsecured gun also increases the risk of suicide. More than 26,000 people killed themselves with firearms in 2021.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2020, there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States, or about 124 people dying from a firearm-related injury each day. Firearm-related injuries were among the top five causes of death for people ages 1-44 in the United States. Men represent 86% of all victims of firearm death and 87% of nonfatal firearm injuries.

Rates of firearm violence vary by age and race/ethnicity. Firearm homicide rates are the highest for teens and young adults 15- 34 years of age and among Black, American Indian or Alaska Native and Hispanic or Latino populations. Firearm suicide rates are highest among adults 75 years and older and among American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic white populations.

For more information on the Rock Island Health Department, click here.