SUFFOLK, Va. - Gun violence has plagued Hampton Roads this summer, with an alarming number of children injured or dead from shootings.
"I have been in this business for 40 years, and it's the worst I have seen it in a long time," said Sheriff E.C. Harris with the Suffolk Sheriff's Office.
One statistic out of Suffolk is alarming. Since the beginning of the year, the office says, 88 juveniles have been involved in firearm-related instances.
"Too many firearms are getting on the streets right now, and we're not being as vigilant as we should keeping them secure," Harris said.
That's why the sheriff's office is working to push out free gun locks to owners, which prevents a magazine from being loaded or a gun from being fired. The free locks are part of Project ChildSafe, a nationwide program that promotes the safe handling of firearms and storage with a cable-style gun locking device.
"The last thing you would want is to be a legal gun owner and have a firearm go off, have a young person get their hands on it and hurt someone," Harris said. "It's something you won't forget. It will haunt you the rest of your life."
Project ChildSafe says it has distributed more than 36 million kits to gun owners. Suffolk has handed out 6,000 kits since 2014.
"There are no do-overs. Once that gun goes off, you can't go back," Harris said.
The sheriff's office will be handing out free kits Friday, September 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kroger Marketplace on University Boulevard.