After 30 years of representing major hunting, fishing, and firearm companies, John Westerfield took over the reins of Yeager’s Sporting Goods in Bellingham, Washington. John has been a big supporter of Project ChildSafe for years and is eager to inform every Yeager’s customer about the importance of firearm storage and safety. He also played a pivotal role in the early stages of Project ChildSafe in the Bellingham area.
Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?
JW: Virtually everything sold in this country has some potential for doing harm in the wrong hands or if misused. Items with moving parts are most susceptible to this possibility, and firearms even more so as they are items of great value to criminals and items of great curiosity and mystery to children. We in the firearms industry are not responsible for what happens to a firearm after we sell it, but we can and should do everything in our power to encourage our customers to secure their firearms in ways and places that make it nearly impossible to prevent the likelihood of a criminal or child getting their hands on it.
Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.
JW: We have recently converted 16 linear feet of retail space to offer a larger variety or home firearms security products. Prior to that, and to date, everyone who works in our firearms section is thoroughly schooled on firearms safety and try to pass that on to anyone who will listen. We are hosts of Tom Gresham's Gun Talk radio show and most of our ads on that program are about gun safety. We also hand out NSSF firearms security pamphlets with every firearm we sell and insure that there is a gun lock with every firearm that goes out our door. Most new firearms come with gun locks, but for those that do not, or any used or consigned firearms we have in stock, we add gun locks to them.
Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.
JW: Firearm safety is even more important when it comes to children. As stated, their curiosity and lack of understanding about the dangers and possible consequences of handling firearms is such that we must all go to extra lengths to insure that they have no opportunity to be part of a tragedy. NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program is one very good way to help continue the downward rate of incidences involving firearms and children. We are so convinced of it here at Yeager's that we now supply three pediatric clinics in our area with gun locks to hand out to families that visit them.