GARNER, N.C. (WNCN)–From using safes to gun locks, a local law enforcement agency is stressing the importance of safely storing firearms. Captain Chris Adams with the Garner Police Department said children getting access to guns is preventable.

“We’ve seen too many cases of it, we’ve seen recent cases that we’re hearing about across the state and it’s really heartbreaking and sad to see something that can be prevented is still happening,” Adams said.

Earlier this week, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office said Roanoke Rapids police arrested a woman and charged her with failing to store a firearm to protect minors, following the accidental shooting death of a 4-year-old in May.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, there were at least six unintentional shootings by children in North Carolina this year, six people were injured in addition to the four-year-old who died.

The Garner Police Department has free gun locks at the department at all times to give to whoever wants one.

“It’s imperative that parents really lock away their firearms, secure them in a way that kids cannot access them and fire them, or  take them to school, take them into public,” Adams said. “It’s just vitally important.”

According to state law, anyone who lives with someone under 18 and stores a firearm in a way the minor can access and fire it is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the child brings the gun to school, uses it to commit a crime, or causes personal injury or death.

Triangle Shooting Academy said it gives each customer purchasing a firearm a printed out copy of the law to sign.

Adams said gun safes are probably the best option, and do cost more.

“We would encourage everyone to use something, and not just rely on a child not finding a weapon because it happens too often,” Adams said.

Earlier this month, Durham County gave out 200 free gun locks outside the courthouse. The Wake County Sheriff’s office said it’s given away more than 100 gun locks at community events this year.

According to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the department has issued 16,326 pistol permits so far this year. The department issued 38,862 pistol permits in 2021 and 56,230 in 2020, according to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.