With the support of Governor Luis Fortuño, Puerto Rico today launched the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafe gun-safety program as Secretary of Justice Guillermo Somoza-Colombani called on gun owners to prevent firearm accidents by storing their guns securely away from children.
At a press conference in the historic governor’s mansion, Somoza-Colombani said that to help prevent accidents, especially involving children, free firearm safety kits will be distributed free of charge to gun owners. The safety kits, which include a cable-style gun lock and a safety brochure that explains safe storage options, have been provided free of charge by NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry.
Joining Somoza-Colombani at the press conference was Secretary of the Department of Sports and Recreation Henry Neumann, Superintendent of the Island Police Department Hector Pesquera, Angel Torres of Puerto Rico’s Shooting Sports Federation and NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.
Project ChildSafe, a program developed by NSSF, has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits to gun owners through partnerships with elected officials and law enforcement agencies since 2003. The program, which has received millions in funding through U.S. Department of Justice grants, is today solely funded by the firearms industry.
“Promoting safe storage and handling of firearms has been a priority of the firearms industry for over a hundred years and continues today through Project ChildSafe,” said Keane. “We thank Governor Fortuño for his leadership in helping to raise awareness about gun safety in Puerto Rico. We also thank the shooting sports federation for its role in making sure these firearm safety kits reach gun owners.”
Keane noted that nearly all firearm accidents in the home can be prevented when gun owners take few simple precautions to prevent a child or other unauthorized person from accessing a loaded firearm. Precautions include storing firearms unloaded in a locked cabinet, safe or storage case. A gun-locking device can be used as an additional safety precaution. Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
“We encourage residents to pick up a Project ChildSafe safety kit so that they can learn how to securely store their firearms at home,” said Keane. “Participation in the program is completely voluntary.”
By partnering with Project ChildSafe, Puerto Rico is participating in a national effort to promote firearms safety education to all gun owners. Project ChildSafe has distributed gun lock safety kits to all 50 states and the five U.S. territories.
“With the launch of Project ChildSafe, Puerto Rico has taken an important step forward in helping to ensure that all firearm owners fully understand their responsibilities with respect to the safe handling and storage of firearms,” said Bill Brassard Jr., director of Project ChildSafe.
Gun owners can learn more about safe handling and storage of firearms at www.projectchildsafe.org and www.nssf.org/safety. Firearm safety information is available in Spanish as well English on both websites.