Gun safety campaign puts image of a kid pointing a gun on buses across Los Angeles

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As you're driving in Los Angeles, a black-and-white image of a young boy pointing a handgun might grab your attention. It's supposed to get you talking.

“I hope that it will be controversial,” L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian said. 

Krekorian is one the minds behind 200 buses in the city donning a "Lock It Up" advertisement to advocate for responsible firearm ownership. He said he hopes the ads will cause shock, offense and also appreciation from onlookers, because controversy causes people to pay attention.

"People need to pay attention, because there’s too many children who are dying in our city, and throughout our country, because irresponsible gun owners don’t properly store their firearms," Krekorian said.

A bus with the Lock It Up gun safety campaign on its side.
A bus with the Lock It Up gun safety campaign on its side. Paul Krekorian via Flickr

According to a report from Everytown for Gun Safety, between December 2012 and December 2013 at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings. Sixty-five percent of the gun deaths in the report took place with guns that were legally owned, but improperly stored. 

“If you’re going to be a law-abiding gun owner, if you’re going to be a responsible gun owner, then store your firearm in a safe way, and that’s what this ad campaign is all about,” Krekorian said.

"Lock It Up's" website lists six different safe storage options, including trigger locks, cable locks and lockboxes. The online campaign also includes videos urging firearm-owning citizens to practice safety measures.

"Do it for us" video

The ad featured on L.A. buses is layered by text that reads: "Never let your gun get in the wrong hands." 

The campaign is being produced in conjunction with the Ad Council, the Department of Justice and the National Crime Prevention Council. Since the ads are running on L.A.-owned buses, Krekorian said that the campaign comes at no cost to the city.

Scheduled to appear through March, Krekorian is hopeful that the campaign will continue on longer — and even appear in Spanish and through different forms of media. 

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