Kentucky poll: 12 percent of homes with kids keep guns loaded and unlocked

A new poll has returned some interesting results regarding firearms ownership and storage in the state of Kentucky.

According to the poll released Tuesday by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, approximately 55 percent of Kentuckians surveyed said they had a gun in their home.

Approximately 25 percent indicated they kept at least one gun loaded in the house, and some 15 percent of all adults in Kentucky said they kept the guns unlocked and loaded in their homes.

The poll also found that 6 of every 10 Kentucky households with children reported having a gun in the home. Of those households with children, 24 percent reported they kept a loaded gun in the home and 12 percent said they kept an unlocked and loaded gun in the home.

The above results came from a survey conducted Sept. 11 through Oct. 19 of 2016, in which 1,580 randomly selected people in Kentucky were asked about a number of different health issues. The margin of error statewide was reported to be plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The poll also cites statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control that found nearly 1,500 children died in the U.S. in 2015 from firearms related injuries.

As reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Democratic State Sen. Gerald Neal proposed a bill in January to try and address the issue of children finding and sometimes hurting or killing themselves and others with unlocked guns.

Neal’s proposal, Senate Bill 28, would make it a misdemeanor if people leave guns unsecured and minors gain access to them. Neal admits it would be hard for law enforcement officers to know of unlocked guns before another tragic accident happens, but says something must be done.

“That was very low-hanging fruit, given what’s at stake in these cases, and I deliberately constructed it to be that way,” Neal said. “It’s not a gun control bill; it’s a gun safety bill. Nothing in that bill should have spooked anybody.”

Neal’s bill has so far seen no movement during the 30-day legislative session in Kentucky, which ends Thursday.