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Among the many free items you can pick up at this year's Minnesota State Fair will be gun locks.

The Minnesota Department of Safety announced free gun locks will be given to visitors throughout the 2022 Great Minnesota Get-Together, with the department aiming to give out 10,000.

They will be handed out starting at 7 a.m. Thursday at near the DNR booth and in the Education Building.

It's part of a new initiative by the Office of Gov. Tim Walz called "Make Minnesota Safe & Secure," which aims to ensure every gun owner in the state has a gun lock to help store firearms safely and securely. 

The governor's office says the goal is to "reduce suicide, theft and crimes committed with guns."

“As a veteran and lifelong hunter, I am committed to safe and responsible gun ownership,” said Gov. Tim Walz. “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.”

The program is part of a $1 million investment in gun safety funded by the American Rescue Plan. 

"Stopping by our booth and picking up a gun lock costs nothing. But saving even one life is priceless," Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington said.

Data from 2020, provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, states:

  • 513 firearm-related deaths in the state
  • 69% of firearm deaths were suicides
  • 26.9% of firearm deaths were homicides
  • 89.3% of firearm deaths were males
  • 28 Minnesotans under the age of 18 died from firearms, a 75% increase in a 10-year span

Check out a map below to see where the free gun locks will be available.

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Firearms are not allowed at the State Fair despite an effort by the Minnesota Gun Owners' Caucus to overturn the ban.

For more information on the free gun locks, visit the Department of Public Safety's website.

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