Johnson County is proud to partner with the Be SMART campaign to increase awareness and provide resources to the community on the importance of responsible gun ownership.

It's a harsh reality:

  • More than 700 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member.
  • 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year.
  • One-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional death incidents can be prevented with secure storage.

By ensuring firearms are stored securely—locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition—we can prevent unintentional shootings and create a safer environment for everyone.

Read more: Firearm Violence: A Public Health Crisis in America The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory 2024


Where do I pick up free gun locks in Johnson County?

Free gun locks can be picked up at the following location - no questions asked:

Johnson County Treasurer's Office:

Health and Human Services Building
855 S. Dubuque Street
Iowa City, Iowa 52240

Want to learn more about ways to secure and store your firearms?

Download Guide to Secure Gun Storage Devices from Be SMART.

What is the Be SMART campaign?

The Be SMART campaign was launched in 2015 to promote responsible gun ownership to reduce child gun deaths. In 2024 the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved a partnership with Be SMART to spread awareness and provide resources to better protect our community from gun deaths amongst our children and teens.

Firearms are now the leading cause of death among children in the United States. 

Whether you’re a gun owner, or you know someone who owns a gun, there is a role for everyone in the conversation around secure gun storage. Be SMART is a framework that parents, caretakers, and community leaders can follow to help keep their communities safe. Ultimately, you can help prevent kids from accessing firearms by storing them securely and encouraging others to do the same. Because children deserve to feel safe, no matter where they are.

Here’s how to Be SMART:

Secure all firearms in your home and vehicles.

Model responsible behavior around firearms.

Ask about the presence of unsecured firearms in other homes.

Recognize the role of firearms in suicide.

Tell your peers to be S-M-A-R-T.

How do I talk to other parents about secure gun storage?
Talking about secure firearms protects your loved ones everywhere.

Safety is always an adult responsibility. Kids will be kids, so it’s always an adult’s responsibility to keep children safe. Always assume that curious or impulsive kids may find and touch an unsecured gun, even if they’ve been told not to. If a child handles a gun, a bad decision can quickly become a fatal one. Parents often don't think about whether their children have access to firearms while visiting other homes.

Be SMART provides some valuable tips for parents to get the conservation started.


Where can I get more information and resources?

Download more RESOURCES on how to Be SMART on