MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Eighteen Tennessee children have been shot and killed in the first nine months of 2017. Many of those victims were in Memphis.
The children are getting their hands on guns that adults are not properly locking up.
The WMC Action News 5 investigators conducted an experiment with Mid-South pre-schoolers, with the permission of their parents, trying to remove the safety lock on a gun.
This experiment could be a starting point for a conversation with your children about gun safety.
There's no doubt kids can be curious about guns. We saw that first hand in this hidden camera experiment a few years ago. After a lesson in gun safety, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators hid an unloaded gun inside a cubby at Krayola Learning Academy in Covington and watched–with parents--as children toyed with a potentially deadly weapon.
Gun safety advocates have long touted gun locks for protection.
A new device, the ChildSafe1 gun lock, is designed to keep children between the ages of 2 and 9 from firing a weapon.
The lock features dual alarms to discourage tampering, a trigger block, and hidden release for adults who need access quickly.
The company claims: "No child has ever figured out how to remove the device."
The WMC Action News 5 Investigators returned to Krayola Learning Academy to see if that's true.
"What have your parents told you about guns?" reporter Sasha Jones asked.
"That they're not safe to touch," a 5 year old said.
After another lesson in gun safety, parents gave their kids permission to not only touch the gun, but also to try to remove the ChildSafe1 gun lock.
Five kids, ages 4-5, did what they could to remove the gun lock, but not one of them figured it out.
Covington Police Sergeant William Nelson actually showed his son how to remove the lock--by applying adult-strength to specific release points.
"If I set this back on the shelf and you accidentally touch it, can you take it off," Nelson asked his son.
Lucas tried again but no luck.
"Did you think he was going to be able to get it off?" Jones asked.
"I actually thought he would. To me it was easy. I thought he would find out how to do it and do it," Nelson said.
Lucas did get farther than most kids, but once the tamper alarm sounded he backed off.
Gun Training expert Chip Holland said every gun lock comes with pros and cons and should be used in combination with other safety efforts.
Holland recommends securing your gun in an elevated safe place and educating your child about firearm safety.
"People want to have guns for home defense. If it hurts someone within your home, it really didn't do what it was supposed to do," Holland said.
During one of our interviews with parents at Krayola Learning Academy, one of the dads was able to rip off the lock without applying pressure to the specific release points and without setting off the alarm.
We asked the Global Gun Safety CEO about that, and he said, "The whole focus is not to protect this from adults, but to protect this from children."