State to give away 10,000 gun locks at Minnesota State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — State officials announced Tuesday plans to issue 10,000 free gun locks at the Minnesota State Fair, in an effort to bolster firearm safety.

The overall goal, according to the office of Gov. Tim Walz, is to reduce deaths by suicide, thefts, and crimes committed with guns.

The gun locks will be handed out starting at 7 a.m. Thursday, as the fairgrounds open for the first day of business. The giveaways are happening at two separate booths — the Department of Public Safety booth near Carnes Avenue and Nelson Street, and the Department of Natural Resources building along Cosgrove Street between Wright and Dan Patch avenues.

The giveaway is part of a “Make Minnesota Safe & Secure” initiative, funded in part by a $1 million investment in gun safety paid for with federal American Rescue Plan funds.

“As a veteran and lifelong hunter, I am committed to safe and responsible gun ownership,” Walz said. “By making gun locks free and accessible at the Minnesota State Fair, we are helping more gun owners keep themselves, their loved ones, and their communities safe.”

Public safety commissioner John Harrington says that the state has seen a recent and alarming increase in aggravated assaults and murders, most of them committed with a firearm.

“Our goal is for all Minnesota gun owners to understand how and why to use gun locks and to get a gun lock into the hands of every gun owner who doesn’t already have one—and there’s no better place to start than the Great Minnesota Get-Together,” Harrington said. “Stopping by our booth and picking up a gun lock costs nothing. But saving even one life is priceless.”

Public safety is at top of mind for this year’s State Fair. Last week, organizers announced Wednesday that they have reached their goal of “securing 200 law enforcement officials” to patrol the fair.

In a letter sent to the Ramsey County on August 4, organizers had expressed concern they may not be able to fulfill the needed 200 officers in time for the fair. In response, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to provide up to 40 deputies a day and active shooter response teams. Additional state troopers will be positioned at entrances.

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