Gun safety educators call for more conversations about gun


BEXAR COUNTY – Jennifer Northway, the director of injury prevention with University Health, said having a family conversation about gun violence can start with something as simple as creating a plan.

“We need the conversation about firearms and safe storage to become just as commonplace,” Northway said. “We want to make firearm ownership as safe as possible for those who have weapons and for those who don’t.”

University Health is partnering with Bexar County for the program, GunSafety4Bexar.

Northway said the initiative’s goal is to provide the community with resources to increase gun safety across the San Antonio area, including free gun locks.

“There has been a lot of community demand for this resource,” Northway said. “We’ve seen an increase in demand for cable locks and trigger locks from our office as well.”

The initiative has 12 pickup locations to get those resources. The Bexar County Commissioners Court also has its final free gun safe and lock pickup on Saturday, but registration is already closed for that program.

The conversation of gun safety is something that instructor Bill Slater at Handgun Safety Training Corporation is long overdue.

“This is something that needs to occur all the time and it needed to start way back when,” Slater said. “Whether we’re talking about cooking eggs on a stove, you gotta learn how to properly utilize a stove. In this case, handguns. You need to understand what the gun is capable of doing.”

Slater said he’s been teaching gun safety for 35 years.

He said knowing how to properly use a gun is the first step in being a safe gun owner.

“With any object that you choose to handle or own, there’s an obligation for you to understand exactly how it works properly,” Slater said.

While there is no easy solution to gun violence, he said starting the conversation is a step in the right direction.

“Every little bit helps,” Slater said. “Something is always going to be better than nothing.”

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