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Police beg parents to keep guns locked up, away from children after toddler dies

According to the Richland County Sheriff's Department, the best way to store your gun is in a safe or with a gun lock.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After a weekend that left a toddler dead after she found a gun, sheriff and police departments are urging parents to keep their guns locked up and out of reach of tiny hands. 

RELATED: 3-year-old dead after accidental shooting in Richland County

Senior Community Action Team officer Jason Cuzzupe with the Richland County Sheriff's Department says homeowners need to step up their personal gun responsibility to ensure guns are kept out of the wrong hands. "The most important thing about gun ownership is being a responsible gun owner," said Cuzzupe.

He says parents need to make sure their guns are secured away. "Kids grab things. Kids are curious by nature. So, if you have a firearm in the house, you not leaving it out is key."

RELATED: Free gun lock giveaways held after 3-year-old dies in accidental shooting

Owning a gun with children around is a huge responsibility, says Cuzzupe, because accidents happen, and when guns are involved, it's usually tragic. 

"It doesn't take much pull weight for a trigger to go off," Cuzzupe said. "Typically you see anywhere, on some handguns, between a seven and a nine pound trigger weight. That takes nine pounds of pressure, so it is plausible a child could pull the trigger on something."

RELATED: 'Concerning and shocking': Five separate instances of weapons brought to Midlands schools

Peter Zalka with Arm in Arm, South Carolinians for Responsible Gun Ownership, says keeping guns secured and inaccessible to kids and storing the ammo separately is critical.

"Stopping tragic firearm accidents from happening is an adult responsibility," Zalka said. "Job one is adults keeping firearms inaccessible to children at home and in our vehicles."

According to the sheriff's department, the best way to store your gun is in a safe.

"You can own a safe, where you can store a gun. In addition to that, you can utilize things like gun locks."

RELATED: 7-year-old killed in Columbia was Burton Pack student, football player

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