Burgaw police chief talks gun safety after child dies in ‘accidental shooting’


BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Following the death of a four-year-old boy after a reported accidental shooting in Burgaw, Police Chief Jim Hock talked gun safety and how to properly store your gun to prevent accidents in the future.

“One pull of a trigger can change a person’s life or take a person’s life,” Hock said. “So it’s very important to understand how that firearm operates and not to endanger other folks around you.”

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He says every firearm should be treated as if it’s loaded, meaning to keep it pointed at the ground and away from people at all times.

Hock says one of the best ways to make sure you are practicing gun safety is to make sure you know how to properly operate the gun.

“The best way to do that is take some kind of class. A lot of sporting goods stores have connections to safety classes on how to operate and use a firearm,” Hock said.

If you have children, he says make sure to talk with them about gun safety.

“Educate your children about guns and the safety. Guns are not toys,” he said. “Toys these days you can buy in the store are very similar in weight, size, look of real guns. Make sure the kids understand the difference between the two.”

When it comes to storing guns, Chief Hock suggests a few different options.

First, he talks handguns.

There are different types of locks and the one Chief Hock references is fairly inexpensive and easy to find he says.

“You can do one of two ways. You can either feed it up through where the magazine goes or if the gun is large enough you can feed it down through the barrel, loop it in and you can lock it up,” Hock explained.

This type of lock would prevent the operation of the firing mechanism and loading of a magazine.

There are locks similar to this kind available for free in the Burgaw Police Department lobby.

Chief Hock says there is a limited quantity, but as of Friday, June 19 there were locks still available.

He shared various types of safes to store your firearm in.

One is made specifically for a gun, with foam on the inside to keep the firearm from moving and a loop to secure the case under a car seat if you are permitted to conceal carry.

He says a standard waterproof safe is another option of storing your firearms in your home.

For long guns, he uses something called a trigger lock.

“When this locks on there you can’t get your finger to where the trigger is,” he said.

And for the storage of larger guns, he recommends a gun safe which typically has shelves for smaller guns as well.

“Make sure they aren’t accessible to kids, teens or individuals that might have a mental health issue that might use it to harm themselves or others,” Hock said.

Chief Hock says a combination lock can add an extra layer of safety because you don’t have to worry about the wrong person finding the key.

The case involving the death of the 4-year-old boy is still under investigation and Chief Hock says he expects the case to wrap up by the end of next week.