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PCS Blog

This blog is a place to share ideas and learn about the latest Project ChildSafe events, activities, tools and materials you can use with your communities. We would love to hear from you, so email us at PCSStaff@nssf.org with your photos, stories, ideas and questions.
July 23, 2018

For Jack Logan, gun safety is more than a priority – it is a passion. Logan’s efforts go beyond distributing gun locks in his community, where he regularly walks door-to-door to distribute firearms safety kits.  A Greenville, South Carolina, native, Logan travels the country shepherding the message of safe gun storage to communities impacted by firearms accidents. Logan has made it his personal mission to remind gun owners to practice firearms safety effectively.

Not a gun owner himself, Logan could not have imagined becoming a vocal supporter of firearms safety. Logan was originally approached to get involved in gun safety education efforts after a series of gun-related crimes and accidents occurred in his community. Originally, he did not engage. However, after the passing of a close friend who believed in firearms safety, coupled with mentions of kids and guns in the news, Logan took up the cause and embarked on a grassroots campaign in Greenville to educate kids not to pick up guns. This campaign today is known as “Put Down the Guns Now Young People.”

Since founding the group, Jack has worked tirelessly to distribute gun safety locks to those in need. He began working with the local sheriff’s department to disseminate gun locks in minority neighborhoods and, soon after, partnered with Project ChildSafe to distribute more than 500 locks to local families in his community.

Today, Project ChildSafe is proud to recognize Logan as its S.A.F.E. Summer Champion in Greensville for his efforts to spread the importance of firearms safety to the community while also raising the importance of safe storage. Supporters like Logan, nationwide, help to ensure that gun owners “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.”

“It feels good knowing that with these locks and educational materials there is less of a chance a child could get hurt by a gun. Knowing we saved someone’s life or someone from getting hurt; that’s how I know I’m making an impact,” said Logan. "I just want to keep people safe.”

We are pleased to shine a light on Logan’s important work through the sixth annual S.A.F.E. Summer campaign. "S.A.F.E." serves as an acronym for Store your firearms responsibly when not in use; Always practice firearms safety; Focus on your responsibilities as a firearms owner; and Education is key to preventing accidents. The effort is focused on providing resources to help gun owners take action and share information that will help keep their families and communities safer.

For other gun safety materials and tips, please visit our resource library and review Project ChildSafe’s 10 Tips for Firearms Safety.

You can also find a gun safety kit in your area through our law enforcement partner list.


July 16, 2018

Since 2000, the number of women gun owners has dramatically increased, with self and home defense ranking as the number one reason women choose to own a gun (Source: NSSF Girl Power Infographic). For most of her life, Javondlynn Dunagan never thought she would be one of those women – let alone become an active firearms safety advocate and educator.

Dunagan, a retired Chicago federal probation officer of 25 years, didn’t envision owning a firearm. Throughout her career, Dunagan was not required to carry a gun, nor did she think it would significantly enhance safety in her home. However, she was married to a police officer, who owned firearms, and that helped her feel safe. It wasn’t until her divorce that she understood why so many women embrace firearms as a form of personal independence and protection. Initially cautious when it came to firearms, Dungan committed to learning how best to responsibly own and use a gun.

“It was time to get over my fears, but to do that I needed to make sure I was trained and educated on how to properly use [a firearm],” said Dunagan.

Prior to retiring as a probation officer, Dunagan completed a firearms training course and began taking solo trips to the gun range in an effort to refine her shooting skills. Soon enough, she felt confident, empowered and safer. During her time at the gun range, one thing was clear to Dunagan: too few women came in to shoot. Understanding that many women want a sense of security yet also recognizing possible anxieties associated with owning firearms, Dunagan decided to empower women to take responsibility for their own safety through self-defense training and firearms education.

Today, Project ChildSafe is proud to recognize Dunagan as its S.A.F.E. Summer Champion in Chicago for her efforts to empower women in the community while raising the importance of responsible firearms ownership and gun safety. Supporters like Dunagan nationwide help to ensure that gun owners “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.”

In 2017, Dunagan started her business, JMD Defense & Investigations, and became the founder of the Ladies of Steel gun club, through which more than 100 women have learned how to responsibly handle firearms. Dunagan went from being apprehensive around firearms to becoming fiercely committed to proper firearms usage and gun safety education. Her work also includes partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and distributing nearly 100 Project ChildSafe gun locks.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that I can help other women overcome their own fears and become responsible gun owners,” said Dunagan, who also advocates for five central tips about firearms safety for women and firearms novices generally:

  1. Take a class on basic firearms education.
  2. Have a personal firearms record card – record the firearm, serial number and transaction information.
  3. Clean your gun on a regular basis.
  4. Make sure your firearm is properly stored when not in use.
  5. Conduct a firearm check before guests arrive at your home and make sure it is secured.

We are pleased to shine a light on Dunagan’s important work through the sixth annual S.A.F.E. Summer campaign. "S.A.F.E." serves as an acronym for Store your firearms responsibly when not in use; Always practice firearms safety; Focus on your responsibilities as a firearms owner; and Education is key to preventing accidents. The effort is focused on providing resources to help gun owners take actions and share information that will help keep their families and communities safer.

For other gun safety materials and tips, please visit our resource library and review Project ChildSafe’s 10 Tips for Firearms Safety.

You can also find a gun safety kit in your area through our law enforcement partner list.


July 9, 2018

Cheryl Bone has never been one to settle for the conventional. From studying nursing, to serving as a law enforcement lieutenant, to joining a music ministry, and finally becoming a chaplain in her community—at 72 years old—Cheryl’s life is anything but ordinary.  

One thing has remained constant in her varied life, however: Practicing, teaching and advocating firearms safety. Her work and passion to spread the gun safety and safe storage messages are a big part her life. As a result, Project ChildSafe is proud to name Cheryl its S.A.F.E. Summer Champion in Memphis.

Cheryl has distributed hundreds of Project ChildSafe firearm safety kits that include a gun lock at local events, reaching people far beyond her Memphis community. She is a familiar face at school career fairs, and is often recognized for passing along gun locks and resources to youth in hopes of encouraging parents to securely store their firearms.

As a trusted member of the local faith community and a strong partner to law enforcement agencies that need help distributing gun locks, she is a true advocate for Project ChildSafe and its mission.

“I advocate for gun safety because I’m passionate about it, and I don’t want to see any more children die from preventable firearms accidents,” said Cheryl.

According to Cheryl, children and teens are comfortable and willing to talk to her about their parents’ firearms storage practices, and she always makes an effort to give at least one gun lock to each student with whom she connects.

Firearms safety has been a part of Cheryl’s life from a very young age, dating back to her early childhood years when her father taught her how to use his 20-gauge Iver Johnson shotgun. At five years old, she was instilled with the vital importance of firearms safety – something she still vividly remembers. The most important lesson she learned back then was that the 20-gauge Iver Johnson was not a toy.

Ever since, she has made it her mission to help everyone become a safe and responsible gun owner. That dedication formally took hold in 1968 when she started a career in law enforcement and became the first female police officer for the University of Tennessee police department to work the Memphis streets.  

Because of her exposure to guns at a young age and her dad’s positive influence on proper firearms storage and gun safety, Cheryl recognizes how crucial it is to begin having conversations with children sooner rather than later. She believes teaching from the bottom up and not top down will help save more young children from accidental injuries and deaths. A gun owner herself, Cheryl always practices safe storage. It gives her piece of mind to know that when her grandchildren come to visit, her firearms are locked up and out of reach.

Project ChildSafe is proud to partner with supporters like Cheryl Bone nationwide to ensure that gun owners “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” We are pleased to shine a light on Cheryl’s important work through the sixth annual S.A.F.E. Summer campaign. "S.A.F.E." serves as an acronym for Store your firearms responsibly when not in use; Always practice firearm safety; Focus on your responsibilities as a firearm owner; and Education is key to preventing accidents. The effort is focused on providing resources to help gun owners take actions and share information that will help keep their families and communities safer.

 

For other gun safety materials and tips, please visit our resource library.

Find a gun safety kit in your area through our law enforcement partner list.

 


June 19, 2018

Name: Sheriff Carl J. Gotwald Sr.

Department: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Brookville, Pennsylvania


How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office distributes the Project ChildSafe locks from our office to any individual in need. We also provide locks at off-site events such as The Night Out for Child Safety and the local fair. We also supply locks to our Adult and Juvenile Probation Department, as well as the Children and Youth Services.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Project ChildSafe is a program that hits close to home for me. At one particular birthday party when my grandchildren were younger, one of the children went into a bedroom and came out carrying a handgun. The door was shut but the kids were able to get in and find their parents’ weapon. If it had not been for a safety lock on the firearm, there was the possibility that someone would not be able to enjoy their next birthday. Any firearm that is not secured in a safe or safety container should have a safety lock of some kind attached.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

The Sheriff’s Office has distributed hundreds of locks over the years. I can happily say we have had no accidental shootings in Jefferson County – a statistic that we aim to keep going for many years to come. Hopefully by providing literature and locks to so many, we have averted an accidental shooting by a minor or adult.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

There are many helpful courses and online resources, including Project ChildSafe, that provide information and materials on gun safety. This means that educational materials, quizzes and videos are readily available to anyone in the community. Further, the NRA has gun safety instructors who offer hands-on classes for novice or seasoned firearms owners.

Lastly, we welcome anyone in our community to contact our sheriff or police departments and ask for information on safe handling and storage of firearms.


April 27, 2018

Name: Rick Porrello, Chief of Police

Department: Lyndhurst Police Department, Lyndhurst, Ohio

How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

Project ChildSafe locks are distributed directly to residents in several ways. We routinely promote their availability through our online presence, our city magazine and on our city hall marquee. They are also made available at special events – such as National Night Out and Lyndhurst Home Day. Finally, they’re also available 24/7 directly from our Emergency Communications Center.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Our mission statement memorializes our commitment to collaborate with the community. Partnering with Project ChildSafe gives us another way to work with residents to help prevent tragedies and share information about gun safety. Having the locks available, and promoting their availability, in and of itself helps to promote gun safety awareness for our residents.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

The safety kits provided by Project ChildSafe have helped us maintain an ongoing message of importance about the secure storage of firearms. Preventing access to guns by children and criminals and accidental discharge are critical goals for law enforcement, gun owners and, for that matter, all citizens.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

Citizens must continue to make gun safety a priority and be part of the solution, not the problem. They should support programs such as Project ChildSafe, and can help make gun safety a priority in a variety of ways:

  • Gun owners should make secure firearm storage a topic of conversation with loved ones and friends.
  • Citizens can turn in unwanted firearms and ammunition to police.
  • Guns should be locked and stored in secure locations inaccessible to curious children or thieves.
  • Concealed carry license holders should not store guns in cars overnight.

Overall, our partnership with the Project ChildSafe program has been key to inspiring conversation and promoting better firearms safety and awareness.


March 5, 2018

Name: Chief John Gielink

Department: Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio

How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

We are proud to feature Project ChildSafe locks and materials in a display box, located in the lobby of city hall, which is accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, we hold several events throughout the year during which we engage with the public. We find that talking to families about gun safety is critical to community safety.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Unfortunately, due to funding cuts to local government, we are always looking to do more with less.  We always seek out opportunities to provide our residents with information and items to make their lives safer. We would not be able to provide free gun locks to our residents without this partnership with Project ChildSafe, and we have seen firsthand the impact it has on our residents.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

Some individuals in Mentor-on-the-Lake have at least one gun in their home. Many of those homes also have children. Some individuals can’t afford costly secure storage options to keep their weapons safe, and Project ChildSafe, in turn, provides a free solution through their locks and materials. This way, families can keep firearms safe from curious juveniles, at risk individuals and criminals, without a financial burden.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

Help us raise awareness about gun safety both online and off. Children are naturally curious and smarter than some parents realize. Even storing a loaded gun on a high shelf or in a hidden drawer is an invitation to disaster. Talking to children and family members about gun safety and handling is key, and Project ChildSafe has great resources to help guide these conversations.

 


August 28, 2017

Nicolle Griffin is a leader and founder of the Yuma, Ariz., chapter of The Well Armed Woman (TWAW), which she started in 2013. Under her co-leadership, the Yuma chapter has become the largest chapter of TWAW in Arizona with more than 100 members. In addition to her work with TWAW, Griffin focuses her outreach and volunteer efforts toward educating women, such as military spouses, about the importance of firearms safety 

 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

NG: As responsible gun owners, we need to keep our firearms accessible for protection while also ensuring they are safely secured, especially when children and guests are visiting our homes. We must also help ensure our firearms are not accessible to criminals and people who are not trained in safe firearm handling.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

NG: In 2013, I started The Well Armed Woman Chapter in Yuma. All three chapter co-leaders—Jan Ennenga, Joanne Schickle and myself—are NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructors and Range Safety Officers. We offer free firearms safety training in our community with a focus on women, especially military spouses who frequently have firearms in their home. We also target local “mom’s clubs” to encourage responsible firearms safety in the home and around children. All of our courses cover the basic firearms safety rules, include proper handling and storage. To date, we have taught more than 400 members of our community.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

NG: Project ChildSafe is an important program that provides educational resources for firearms owners, options for safe storage and overall important information for those who own guns. The program highlights the importance of responsible firearms ownership, including our obligation to help prevent guns from being accessible to children and other unauthorized individuals.


August 21, 2017

Mike Rainwater is a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy in Ruston, La., and served as the lead instructor for Louisiana’s Hunter Education Safety program for 20 years at the sheriff’s office. He has helped educate thousands of young kids for hunter education certification in Louisiana. Rainwater has also led and participated in more than 40 sportsman’s educational events over the years.  

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

MR: I vividly remember having an accidental discharge when I was young that scared me greatly. It was a tough lesson learned and taught me how important it is to be safe with firearms. When you are handling a firearm, it is of the utmost importance to understand how to use it and safely secure it when not in use. As a firearms owner, you have a responsibility to handle firearms safely. Firearms safety is essential to keeping your home, children and guests safe. As a law enforcement professional and firearms safety instructor, I have a responsibility to educate the public and that is what has driven my support of Project ChildSafe for so many years. Any accident is tragic; there are too many senseless fatalities that are related to firearms and a lack of safety measures taken. Education and safe storage of firearms is the most effective way to reduce firearms accidents.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearm safety in your community.

MR: I am the lead instructor for Louisiana’s Hunter Education Safety program. We try to hold 10 or more classes a year, where we teach special classes for 4-H and summer camp programs. The types of students can vary but usually the standard classes are full of younger kids. I am also involved in the Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program, a mentorship program that matches a seasoned hunter with a beginner, and focuses on safe hunting over the course of a season. The Sheriff’s Department has been extremely supportive of these efforts and allows me to sponsor these classes.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

MR: I find Project ChildSafe to be an invaluable program because safety of firearms in the home is paramount. I believe in keeping firearms locked up when not in use and support any effort to facilitate that critical step in firearms safety. I have always been a supporter of NSSF and got involved in Project ChildSafe years ago after I started handing out gun locks to my community, mostly through the hunter education classes. 


August 14, 2017

Maj Toure founded Back Guns Matter in 2015, a program dedicated to educating urban communities about firearms responsibility through training. Black Guns Matter is currently on a 50-state tour to reach urban communities across the country and educate them about safe firearms use and safe gun storage. 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important? 

MT: Firearms safety is important because you are responsible for what happens with your firearm. If you own a firearm for protection, your job is to find a balance between accessibility and safe storage of, and both are achievable. People want their firearms to be accessible should the need for them arise, but it is also our responsibility to safely secure our guns. We can find a solution for everyone, whether it’s is a biometric safe, a trigger lock or a cable-style gun lock, and we can assess the dynamics of each individual’s home and figure out the best option for him or her. We always find a good middle ground between safety and accessibility.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

MT: Black Guns Matter is a firearms safety and training organization. We go to urban, high-crime and high-gun control areas to inform that demographic about firearms safety. We promote safety by hosting firearms safety events across the country. They are free and open to all who want to learn.

Putting people on the path to responsible gun ownership is the forefront of our work at Black Guns Matter. Our job is to inform our demographic, put them on a reputable path and watch them blossom. The feedback we are getting is amazing, and most people are positive about our message. It is hard to disagree with education, training and safety.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

MT: We support the program because negligence of firearms safety affects children and families entirely too much. The lack of training, ignorance and carelessness are all preventable, and NSSF is doing tremendous work to make that point to a wide audience.

Black Guns Matter engages millions of Americans that have been left out of the responsible firearms ownership conversation. Just last week, we incorporated the NSSF Project ChildSafe program and the cable-style gun locks into our class and passed them out to everyone who attended. We walked them through the process of how they can use that lock and emphasized that the responsibility to keep that firearm secured and stored is up to them. There are many young people in our classes, and these people were not raised in the shooting sports. But through our program, they are on the path at a young age to start at a place of safety. The education and training can appeal to the minds and the hearts of this demographic, and allows for safe and responsible firearms ownership. 


August 6, 2017

Rich Knight has dedicated much of his time and effort to educating the Carson City, Nev., area on firearms safety and storage. He volunteers with the local 4-H shooting sports club and the Maison T Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp, both dedicated to teaching youth outdoor and firearms safety skills. Knight also helps with the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience in Reno and the Nevada Outdoor Experience, two more programs which provide outdoors experiences for youth and their families.

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

RK: Proper gun handling and storage is not what you see on TV, and it is a part of my mission to inform gun owners of the proper practices to ensure safety. Firearms storage is important to preventing firearms accidents and fatalities. It is especially important to secure your firearms if you have children or when you have visitors in your home. You must keep guns secured by using a safe, applying a cable or trigger gun lock, making sure they are unloaded and storing ammunition separately.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

RK: After being certified by the National 4-H Shooting Sports club, a leading shooting education and youth development program, I became an instructor for the local 4-H program. As an instructor, I teach safety as the #1 priority, with family participation in shooting and safety. Parents come to the program so the whole family knows the rules of safe handling and storage. The program is primarily focused on the safety and responsibility involved with gun handling but also promotes sportsmanship and ethical behavior in shooting sports, hunting and wildlife conservation. 

My primary focus is safety. When I am teaching, my goal is for kids to understand that they need to leave firearms alone. If they see a gun at a friend’s house, leave it be and tell an adult.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

RK: I support any firearms industry program that promotes safety and better understanding of firearms, especially Project ChildSafe. The program helps educate people about firearms safety and storage, enabling us to protect our children and communities. Firearms owners, instructors and programs like Project ChildSafe are the best resources to promote firearms safety and responsibility.