The Saint Louis City Police Department, its chief Daniel Isom and seven other area law enforcement departments today launched the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafegun-safety program.
At a press conference this morning, Chief David Hayes of the Alton Illinois Police Department called on gun owners to prevent firearm accidents by storing their guns securely and away from children. Hayes said that to help prevent accidents, especially involving children, 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 Hayes at the press conference were Douglas Schuerer, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes Jewish Hospital, and Bill Brassard Jr., NSSF’s director of communications, who oversees the Project ChildSafe program.
Project ChildSafe, a program developed by NSSF, has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits to gun owners through partnerships with law enforcement agencies since 2003. The program, which has received millions in funding through U.S. Department of Justice grants, is today funded by the firearms industry. For the Saint Louis launch, NSSF and participating hospitals provided 5,200 gun lock safety kits.
“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 Brassard. “We thank greater St. Louis law enforcemement agencies for their leadership in helping to raise awareness about gun safety and making sure these firearm safety kits reach gun owners.”
Brassard 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 Brassard. “Participation in the program is completely voluntary.”
By partnering with Project ChildSafe, greater St. Louis law enforcement departments are 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, St. Louis 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 Brassard.
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.
Image courtesy of the NSSF