RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gerald Givens Jr continues to grieve the loss of his family.
"I've lost seven family members from gun violence over my lifetime," he said. "I just most recently lost my cousin who is 2 years old in October 2022 when he got access to his father's firearm."
On Monday, Governor Cooper announced the NC Safe Initiative, an effort aimed at safely storing weapons. The public will start seeing more social media and TV ads. His office has purchased 25,000 gun locks along with 200 safes. It costs $2.5 million dollars.
"In Durham, we had 331 guns stolen from vehicles. In that time period, when you go back and look at investigation from vehicles 60 percent of those vehicles were not even locked," said William Lassiter with the NC Department of Public Safety.
"In 2022 here in Raleigh, 582 firearms were stolen from vehicles. Year to date, there have been 179," said Chief Estella Patterson.
Law enforcement officials urge the public to remove the magazine and use a gun lock if your guns are left in the car. Over in Durham County, distributing gun locks has been part of a program in place for 20 years. Donna Rosser demonstrated how to use a gun lock.
"Our partnership has actually distributed over 30,000 gun locks since 1999," said Rosser.
Officials call gun violence a public health crisis. They will continue passing out gun locks to the community in hopes of keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
"That pain is something you just never get over," said Givens.