A PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION

Blog Archive, 2016

August 29, 2016

Project ChildSafe is thrilled with the announcement of the partnership between the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Responsible gun storage is something on which we can all agree, and by working together we can help keep our homes and communities safe. This article was originally published on afsp.org.

 

 

AFSP and NSSF: Tremendous Potential to Save Lives

 

By Stephen L. Sanetti, NSSF President & CEO

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention represents an exciting new opportunity to help reduce the misuse of firearms in America.

As the trade association for the firearms industry, NSSF has for more than 50 years encouraged gun owners to safely handle and securely store their firearms. Through brochures such as Firearms Responsibility in the Home, videos like Firearms Safety Depends on You, infographics such as Safe Storage Options for Your Lifestyle and our Project ChildSafe and “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” initiatives, we remind people that safely storing firearms is the No. 1 way to help prevent misuse, accidents and thefts.

Suicide prevention is not an entirely new area of involvement for NSSF. In recent years, we have worked with the Veterans Administration, the State of Utah and mental health agencies to help educate gun owners and the public on how to keep firearms safely out of reach of those who may wish to do themselves harm, as well as helping to reduce firearms accidents, already at historic low levels, even further.

What is new, however, is that our partnership with AFSP will enable NSSF to play an important role in a first-of-its-kind national effort to distribute jointly developed suicide prevention educational materials to gun owners. We’ll reach the firearms community through the help of firearms retailers and shooting ranges, which make up a portion of NSSF’s 13,000 members, along with organizations that run hunter education classes and target shooting competitions.

Research shows that more than 100 million Americans enjoy owning rifles, shotguns and handguns for target shooting, hunting, collecting and personal and home protection. When these firearms are not being used by an authorized person, they must be safely and securely stored. It is gun owners’ most important responsibility to make sure their firearms are not casually accessible to unauthorized persons.

We’re pleased to say that significant progress has been made in reducing fatal firearms accidents, which are now less than 1 percent of all fatal accidents annually, according to National Safety Council statistics. Our Project ChildSafe has helped by providing over 37 million free firearm safety kits that include a gun lock and safety education brochure to communities in every state through partnerships with more than 15,000 law enforcement departments.

With nearly two-thirds of all firearms fatalities being suicides, however, it’s important that NSSF, its member companies and gun owners do their part to help #StopSuicide as well.

AFSP works diligently on many fronts to reduce suicide and has established a bold goal with its Project 2025, aiming to reduce the annual U.S. suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025. NSSF fully supports this effort, and we want to help AFSP clear this high bar by reaching gun owners and their families with information on warning signs, prevention resources and secure firearms storage options.

To AFSP’s credit, it has chosen to focus on education and saving lives, completely setting aside the contentious politics surrounding the subject of firearms. That approach has made it possible for NSSF to enter into this promising partnership and has led to an open exchange of ideas as we work together on developing a comprehensive national education program.

The benefits to our two organizations are many. NSSF gains from AFSP’s extensive knowledge on suicide prevention and mental health. AFSP benefits from NSSF’s knowledge of secure firearms storage options, our understanding of firearms owners and that gun owners consider us a trusted provider of information.

With help from our new colleagues at AFSP, we continue to learn that mental health conditions are treatable, that suicide is preventable, that Talk Saves Lives and that ours is a message of caring and hope. We will help pass on this important information to the firearms community, which is motivated to do more in this area. No one wants to see firearms abused.

Our partnership’s first big step will be the launch of AFSP’s pilot project with its community-based chapters in four states this fall working with firearms retailers and shooting ranges to provide education to gun owners on suicide prevention and firearms. And early next year we expect to have an AFSP representative address firearms retailers and the outdoor media at our annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show.

Our partnership holds tremendous potential to help save lives.  As you can see, AFSP and NSSF are working together for a common cause.

Learn more about our partnership with NSSF by clicking here.

Learn more about the Pilot Programs by clicking here.

August 22, 2016

Name: Chief James E. Craig

Department: Detroit Police Department

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

To help bolster awareness of our partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Project ChildSafe, we use myriad platforms to distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety messages. One of the main methods of distribution is through community forums and events hosted by our Neighborhood Police Officers (NPO). The NPOs consider it a top priority to educate the members of our community on the dangers surrounding unsecured firearms. Furthermore, we urge any citizen to walk into any Detroit Police Precinct to obtain a Project ChildSafe gun lock at their leisure – no questions asked.  

Why does Detroit Police Department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Having partnered with over 15,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, it's safe to say Project ChildSafe has proven to be a leader in firearms safety and an advocate for ensuring the safety of citizens across this nation. Thus, Project ChildSafe reflects the same compassion and commitment that the Detroit Police Department shares for our community. We have worked directly with Project ChildSafe to host press conferences where we distribute locks and firearm safety information. Keeping our community safe is of the utmost importance, and Project ChildSafe helps us do this.

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

Granting our citizens access to free gun locks along with valuable safety materials has educated families and made them feel more secure. Simply starting the discussion has helped to create awareness and, more importantly, an opportunity to assist with preventing accidental shootings in the home. Keeping an open dialogue on gun safety is key to creating a safe environment at home and in the community.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

Some of the best home safety practices include:

  • Ensuring that your entrances and the perimeter of your home have sufficient lighting. 
  • As an added sense of security in addition to a home security system, storing your car keys or alarm remote near your beside is a sure way to alert neighbors of an emergency and even ward off criminals if you’re unable to call 9-1-1 by pushing the panic button.
  • Be mindful of the information you share on social media by avoiding publicly posting check-ins: you could possibly be telling masses of people that your home will be unoccupied, making your home vulnerable to burglary.   
  • Pay close attention to your surroundings at all times, especially when inputting alarm codes and pin numbers. 
  • Keep all medicine out of reach and out of sight of guests and children.
July 5, 2016

Name: Sheriff Timothy B. Howard

Department: Erie County Sheriff’s Office

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

We distribute gun locks in concert with county-wide events, such as the Erie County Fair, which garners a tremendous response. Additionally, through child/family safety events hosted by our agency and smaller community programs and events, as well as raffle baskets that we donate to for local charitable causes and benefits.

Why does the Erie County Sheriff’s Office partner with Project ChildSafe?

Erie County Sheriff’s Office and I strongly support responsible gun ownership; safe storage is a vital part of responsible ownership. Tragically, senseless injuries and death are caused when someone, usually an inquisitive child, finds an unsecured, loaded firearm that has not been properly secured.  All too often, the firearm ends up being discharged because children, and even some adults, don’t comprehend the dangers of “playing” with any firearm, which often leads to the senseless loss of limb or life.

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

The free gun lock program assists our agency in keeping the focus on Responsible Gun Ownership – on the Owner of the firearm, not the firearm. We emphasize that safe, proper training, handling and storage are the hallmarks of responsible gun ownership.

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

We can collectively enhance this vital message by setting a good example ourselves and encouraging others to be responsible; to continually think and act responsibly with all firearms, to ensure that we and others do not become complacent with regards to the safe, conscientious use and handling of any firearm.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

Preparedness is a critical component of safety. Families should discuss emergency plans and drills, including such as “what to do if,” where to meet if separated and who to phone to leave a central message in the event of a disaster. Reinforcement of these plans and drills helps increase the likelihood that, in an emergency, family members will be less panic-stricken and more focused on a learned response to ensure their safety. Like your firearms, always be proactive in keeping your residence and property secured, whether home or away.

June 22, 2016

Name: Sheriff Ron Hickman and Chief Deputy Tim Cannon

Department: Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston, Texas

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

We have the opportunity to distribute PCS locks at the station and at events, such as town hall events and community activities in local schools. Unfortunately, our community has seen an increase in gun accidents recently, so we try to be as vigilant as we can to make sure our community members understand that these resources are available.

We always appreciate the opportunity to talk about the importance of gun safety with our community service group so everyone knows that these locks are here and that gun safety is crucial.

Why does the Harris County Sheriff’s Office partner with Project ChildSafe?

As the third largest Sheriff’s office in the country, we started our partnership with Project ChildSafe when we realized the tremendous advantage and asset these resources can be for our neighbors. It is rare to find free resources that can make such a big impact. We are always looking for ways to make the community safe, and working with Project ChildSafe is a huge opportunity to do so.

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

There is a large segment of our community that might not be able to afford to go out and buy a gun lock or gun safe. Because of our partnership with PCS, we are able to provide these locks at the station, and at community events, to those who have an interest. When we distribute the locks, we also have an opportunity to talk to community members about gun safety.

While it is hard to directly measure the impact in our community, I know Project ChildSafe has distributed over 37 million locks with 15,000 law enforcement partners, so that is a big impact all on its own.

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

Social media doesn’t cost a thing, and it has a big reach. If more people would share information about this program and the fact that these locks are available, it could be a huge help.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

There are a number of things people can do to ensure that safety is woven into the fabric of their daily lives:

  • Make sure the exterior of your home is well lighted
  • Keep your shrubs and bushes to a reasonable height
  • Double check that you are locking windows, in addition to doors
  • Alarms in both your home and car can prevent many crimes

Generally, it is important to keep safety top of mind. It should not be an afterthought. In addition, many communities offer a law enforcement security assessment through which they will determine any vulnerabilities in your home security setup and design.

 

May 27, 2016

Name: Bill Klundt, Community Resource Officer

Department: Bozeman Police Department

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

The Bozeman Police Department distributes Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials at community events. These materials are also available at the front counter of our Police Department. We invite all Bozeman-area residents to stop by the station during normal business hours and pick up a gun lock and firearm safety information. A few months ago we participated in Sportsman’s Warehouse’s “Ladies Night” event and saw the value these locks and safety materials have firsthand.

Why does the Bozeman Police Department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Montana has a positive gun culture and many of our residents have guns for hunting, sport, and personal safety.  We work with Project Childsafe to give citizens the chance to take a positive, affordable approach to making their weapons safe around not only their children but the children of others. 

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

While we are unable to directly measure the impact, if the locks we have distributed save the life of a child or stopped a child from shooting another person accidentally, then it is a very positive impact.  It’s the stories you never hear about that are the successes.

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

I think the Bozeman Police Department’s program of making the locks available raises awareness.  I have noticed many females asking for the locks now that more of them are carrying weapons for personal safety. These women may be first time gun owners and are eager for information and safety materials. They in turn can spread the message of gun safety message to family, friends and neighbors who also take the necessary precautions.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

In general, people need to be aware of their surroundings and be ready to act if necessary.

Parents need to stress “Stranger Danger” with their kids and help them understand techniques that are used by predators.  They also need a “code word” when someone is going to pick a child up.  The child should be taught not to go with that person under any circumstances if they don’t know the “code word”.

We are constantly stressing for people to reduce temptation by locking their homes and vehicles. 

Everyone should learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.  They may save their own child.

People should take a look at their home through the eyes of a criminal regarding environmental design.  Are bushes providing hiding places near windows, do lights activate around dark areas, do you stop your paper and mail when going out of town?

May 16, 2016

Name: Wendy Smith, Crime Prevention & Community Programs Coordinator

Department: Rocklin Police Department, California

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

The Rocklin Police Department distributes Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials at community events. These materials are also available at the front counter of our Police Department. We invite all Rocklin-area residents to stop by the station during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and pick up a gun lock and firearm safety information.

Why does the Rocklin Police Department partner with Project ChildSafe?

We at the Rocklin Police Department partner with Project ChildSafe because we want to raise awareness about the safe and responsible ownership of firearms and the importance of securely storing firearms to help reduce accidents and access by children.

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

We assume that every person, especially gun owners, has knowledge about gun safety, but that’s not always the case.  There are simple precautions every gun owner can take to make sure his or her firearms don’t pose a danger to children or the community. By providing materials and free gun locks we have been able to raise awareness, which in turn lowers the number of gun-related accidents.

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

It’s important to educate children about gun safety even if you aren’t a gun owner because children may go to a home where guns are present or they may come across a gun that has been discarded by a criminal. By educating children you give them knowledge that helps keep them safe. Many of our pre-schools invite us in to talk to kids about safety in general, and gun safety is one of the topics we cover. We also have volunteers that do grade-level presentations in our elementary schools about a variety of topics; one of which includes gun safety.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid scalds.
  • Make sure you have both a working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, and in all sleeping areas. Test the alarms to make sure they work.
  • Put all medicine and vitamins up and away and out of sight, even medicine you take every day.
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan with your family. It is important to know two ways out of every room.
  • Store all household cleaning products, liquid laundry packets and chemicals in their original container and store up and away, out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Learn the Heimlich maneuver so you can respond quickly if your child chokes.
  • Learn CPR (even if it is Hands Only CPR)
May 3, 2016

Name: Capt. Matthew Doughney

Department: Flagler Beach Police Department, Florida

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

We distribute the gun locks in a few ways. We have them at the front desk so they are available anytime to people who want them. This summer we plan to join Flagler Beach’s “First Fridays” event series by setting up a booth to distribute gun locks in the community. First Fridays is hosted by the City of Flagler Beach and has music and entertainment all summer long on the first Friday of every month. It’s hosted right by City Hall and roughly 500-900 people show up to each event. We are always looking for ways to get into the area and spread the safety message.

Why does the Flagler Beach Police Department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Our partnership with Project ChildSafe is a natural fit. For example, how do you provide something to an individual who a) can’t afford it or b) doesn’t know where to go? Project ChildSafe helps answer both those questions. Isn’t this what we are supposed to be doing to keep communities safe from accidents? It is all about keeping kids safe, adults safe, because once that bullet goes out, it is never coming back.

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

The other week, a gentleman who had seen our ad online came in and asked for gun locks. His grandkids were staying with him for the summer and he wanted to make sure they were safe in his home. With examples like these, how do you put a price tag on that gun lock? Making sure an accident never happens – you can’t put a price tag on that.

We try to promote the free gun locks on our website, on Twitter and Facebook, and through media releases. We want people to know they are available.

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

It starts here, at community events and in schools. Early education is key for both parents and children. In our community, residency doesn’t matter. We want to make our area and country safe. Safety does not stop at city limits and bad guys don’t understand or follow city lines. Neither do tragedies. Anyone is welcome to come to us and ask for gun locks, even if you are just here on vacation. Talk about it with your kids and your friends. Make sure they know what resources are available.

In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?

There are so many things families can do. Crime prevention through environmental design is a basic thing everyone should know. Making sure you have exterior lighting, alarms, having someone check up on your house when you are going away. These little things make a big difference. In terms of home safety, have your family run fire drills with key places to meet up in an emergency. A big issue in Florida is pools. If you have a pool or your child will be around them, make sure you have a gate, or even a fence alarm. Have your kids take swimming lessons and make sure they are always supervised when near water.

These are just a few things, but as a small department, we do the best we can to stay ahead of the curve and be as vigilant as we can be. This is why we are proud to partner with Project ChildSafe.

 


 

April 12, 2016

Last Thursday, Sportsman’s Warehouse in partnership with Project ChildSafe hosted its annual ‘Ladies Night’ event in more than 70 cities across the country. Working with local law enforcement partners, Project ChildSafe was on hand to provide gun safety educational materials and gun locks to attendees. We are grateful to all of the partners who spent their evenings helping to spread the word about gun safety and the “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.” message. Check out some of our favorite photos, courtesy of the Spokane County Sheriff's Department, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Department. Thank you to everyone who helped make these events a success!

Unable to attend one of these events? Find a gun safety kit through law enforcement in your area today. You can also stay up to date on Project ChildSafe news and events by signing up for our newsletter.

 

 

March 14, 2016

Check out our Road to Responsible Gun Ownership interactive tool which takes users down the path of successful steps towards safe ownership. We hope you will walk through these steps and educate loved ones about the importance of these messages.

 

 

 

 

 

January 25, 2016

Our 2015 Annual Review is out! Last year was very successful for Project ChildSafe thanks to our community. We gave away more than 300,000 safety kits, expanded our reach to nearly 23,000 individual and organizational supporters, drove awareness to the program through a series of events, media stories and campaigns and created new tools to help spread the firearm safety message. Thank you for your support in 2015, and we’re excited for continued success in 2016!