Safe Kids Missoula is reminding parents and caregivers to practice gun safety to help reduce the number of child injuries and deaths caused by unintentional shootings or suicide.

Co-coordinator for Safe Kids Missoula, Kira Huck referenced the fact that a loaded magazine was found at Sentinel High School on January 14, putting the school in lock down for several hours. Earlier this month, a third grader in Billings brought a gun he found at his babysitter’s house to school and in December, a teenager in Colstrip was injured when another teen unintentionally discharged a firearm.

“We thought this would be a good time to remind parents and caregivers or anyone who may have children in their home to remember to practice gun safety,” said Huck. “Please make sure your guns and ammunition are stored safely, and that means locked, unloaded and out of reach in sight of kids and separate from ammunition.”

Huck said her organization has been troubled by the recent gun-related incidents in the state.

“It always makes us a little uneasy when we hear about those situations, but thankfully, there were no fatalities in those three incidents,” she said. “However, we know that there was an injury, and whenever a gun is involved, there is the potential for some serious consequences, and those tragedies can impact entire communities.”

Huck said there is new technology to enhance firearms safety.

“We really encourage everyone to make sure that they have child-resistant gun locks on all of their firearms,” she said. “In Missoula, families can access a gun lock if they need one from the sheriff’s office. They work with an organization called Project Child Safe that provides free gun locks for families, and they also have some resources on their website, Project Child Safe dot org.”

No matter where the magazine that was found at Sentinel High School came from, the repercussions of the event will continue to affect the school, teachers and students, and the community. That investigation is ongoing by MCPS and the Missoula Police Department.

There will be a parents meeting on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Sentinel High School to discuss the matter.


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