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.