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.

Women Firearm Advocates Share 7 Gun Safety Tips

In 2021, at least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time—and more than 33 percent of those new gun owners were women. This brought in over 1 million women to gun ownership last year.

It’s exciting to see so many women exercising their Second Amendment right to own a firearm, whether it’s for personal security or to enjoy some of the dozens of shooting sports available to them and to be part of the supportive firearm-owning community.

To welcome and celebrate these new women gun owners, we’ve gathered some of most recognized women in the shooting sports industry to share their insights as leaders for women in shooting sports and provide their best tips and advice on how to safely handle and secure their firearms. Read what they have to say about the role women and mothers can play in helping to ensure firearm safety in the home.

(When it comes to safety, everyone can use a refresher—seasoned owners should read on too!)


Barbara Baird, Women’s Outdoor News

“Women should ask themselves these questions when buying a firearm:

    How will I use it (leave at home, open carry, concealed carry)?

   How will I safely and securely store it?

   Do I need training?

Don’t bring home a gun and try to figure out the answers later. Have a plan in place and execute.”



Kia Glenn, National African American Gun Association

“You don’t need to be a gun expert or champion shooter to know the ins and outs of firearm safety. As you begin your journey of owning a firearm, do your research and equip yourself with information to achieve the goals you set for yourself. The firearm industry offers a wealth of resources from programs like Project ChildSafe, which make it easy to learn more. You can also join groups and associations full of individuals that have similar backgrounds and experiences to ensure you receive the proper firearms education and training.”



Kristy Titus, Pursue the Wild

“Choose firearm storage options that suit your individual needs. There is a plethora of options to securely store your firearm that best fit your, and your family’s, lifestyle. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this video I made explaining the different types of storage methods and how to use them.





Lexi Lagan, USA Shooting and US Olympian

“When it comes to safe firearm handling and training, practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make improvement. Practice safe firearm handling daily to improve your skills. Take courses from certified instructors. Even if you think you have learned everything there is to know, classes help reinforce the critical basics of safe firearm handling. When you can handle firearms safely, training with your firearm becomes more comfortable and you will want to train more often, which leads to further improvement!”




Ashley Hlebinsky, The Gun Code

“Knowledge is the key to responsible firearms ownership. From researching how to safely handle your firearm, to relaying that information to the important people in your life and adding on training to build confidence, every step taken will help ensure safety in the home.

Also, know that you are not alone—you’re now part of a long history of women who have owned firearms. Feel empowered to continue that heritage and legacy into the future!”




Helen Moore, Armed Women of America

“Practice at least 10 minutes a day. Dry firing your firearm along with utilizing tools that ensure the firearm cannot be loaded to increase safety is a great way to improve your muscle memory skills, without having to go to a range. Practice gaining your sight picture, drawing from your holster and magazine changes to increase your understanding of your firearm.”




Orin Julie, Shooting Instructor, Content Creator and IPSC Shooter

“A first step into gun ownership is understanding and knowing the basic rules of gun safety. Build your foundation of safety with the following: keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, treat every gun as if it were loaded, and know your target and what’s beyond it.”





New and prospective gun owners can visit the Project ChildSafe resource library for additional safety information and educational materials, including downloadable resources. Parents can also find tailored resources for talking to kids about firearm safety, as well as teen mental health-specific information by visiting our Parents and Gun Owners page.

2022 Woman of the Gun: Julie Golob

The SHOT Show is the firearm industry’s annual trade show which helps provide support for Project ChildSafe and other firearm industry safety initiatives. At SHOT Show 2022, Project ChildSafe proudly hosted the Women of the Gun event, which included the first-ever Woman of the Gun Award. The award, which recognizes outstanding women in the shooting sports industry, was given to Julie Golob for her embodiment of what it means to serve as an ambassador for firearm safety and empowering other women gun owners to do the same.

In addition to being a vocal and notable advocate of firearm safety, Julie earned more than 150 major championship titles, including more than 50 world and national titles, over the past 30 years.

Julie began working with Project ChildSafe in 2013, lending her name and expertise to a host of firearm safety education efforts, including guest columns, social media campaigns, public appearances and videos—including a feature video on how to talk to kids about gun safety.

The Project ChildSafe team recently interviewed Julie about the award and her years spent advocating for responsible firearm ownership and safe storage.


How important is it for female gun owners to contribute their voice to the conversation around firearm safety and safe storage? What unique insights can women provide on the topic?

“Everyone has an important role to play when it comes to talking about genuine firearm safety and the practices that make everyone safer around firearms. When we know and understand the universal messages about gun safety, we can provide valuable perspective and clarity to others. Women are taking increased responsibility for their own safety by purchasing firearms in record numbers. As women, our experiences as daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, students, teachers and leaders help us to reach the people we are drawn to and those who are drawn to us. This reach allows women to be leaders in promoting safe handling and storage through joining women’s shooting groups, serving as mentors, seeking trainings, ensuring a safe home environment and more.  The more we can all share our dedication to safety as gun owners, the better!”


What inspires you to be so vocal about promoting firearm safety?

“Even as a young shooter, I learned about the importance of firearm safety. From a young age having discussions with my parents about guns to learning how to hunt and shoot with my father, my time on the range and the field were so special. We had so much fun, but there was always the underlying importance of safety rules and respect. Firearm safety begins in the home and it’s something everyone should learn. Becoming educated on these fundamentals leads to a better understanding of how we use guns responsibly for target shooting and hunting and own them for security reasons. Not everyone has family mentors as I did, and being a helpful guide when it comes to this topic is extremely rewarding.”


What would you tell women new to firearm ownership, or just starting their journey into the shooting sports, that want to help ensure safety in the home?

“The cardinal rules of gun safety—keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, treating every gun as if it were loaded, and knowing your target and what’s beyond it—are foundational to gun ownership. Following safe practices is going to allow you to get the most out of your time spent at the range, learning new types of shooting or getting involved in competition. These and other best practices—such as how to safely conduct yourself at a shooting range or in the field while hunting—build your confidence as a gun owner. I love that there is always an opportunity to improve as a gun owner, and mastering firearm safety and incorporating it into your life is a crucial part of that improvement. Whether it’s hunting different types of game, embarking on the journey of carrying a firearm concealed, or challenging yourself in competition to be the best shot you can be, that foundation of safety is where it all begins.”


How can more women get involved in spreading firearm safety practices in their homes? With their family? In their communities?

“The simple and easy way to start spreading safety is by starting a conversation. Though initiating the topic might be uncomfortable at first, talking about gun safety is worthwhile and you don’t have to be a gun owner to talk about real firearm safety. Project Childsafe has so many resources to make this easier and there are many ways to break the ice and hit the target. Ease your way into it by adding it to your family’s home safety plan, when you take the time to talk about what to do during a fire, or other emergency situations. You can take the Project Childsafe pledge with loved ones and share it with others in your circle. Start with close friends and loved ones. When you are comfortable extend it by sharing your experiences and successes with others. This kind of personal experience goes beyond posting articles and images on social media because it’s both valuable and personal.”


Finally, congratulations on being named the 2022 Woman of the Gun! What does it mean to be named the first-ever recipient of the award?

“It is such an honor to be nominated and included among women in the shooting sports who tirelessly promote firearm safety and education. When I learned I was selected, I immediately felt so humbled and grateful. As a professional competition shooter, competing is a huge part of my life, but for an award like this, it’s not a competition, it’s a celebration. That makes receiving this acknowledgment all the more special.”


Julie also shared her thoughts on being named the 2022 Woman of the Gun on her blog, which you can read here.




Name: Chief Catrina Thompson

Department: Winston-Salem Police Department – Winston-Salem, NC


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

Our Evidence Management Section provides a Project ChildSafe lock along with a firearm safety educational brochure with nearly every handgun or long gun that we return to citizens in our community.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Project ChildSafe has provided hundreds of firearm safety kits to our agency over the past 10+ years. We are encouraged by the work that Project ChildSafe is doing to promote safe firearm storage and education in so many communities across the country, including our own.

Many firearm owners have never seen or used a gun lock. We also have citizens who have commented that they had intended to purchase a gun lock but never did. Partnering with Project ChildSafe has given us an opportunity to provide free firearm safety locks for firearm owners within our community who may have not considered using or purchasing a lock on their own otherwise. It is fulfilling to know we are in a position where we can educate others about the need for such a life-saving product.

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

With access to these free firearm safety kits, we are able not only to educate our community about the importance of firearm safety, but also provide the necessary resources to ensure firearms are safely maintained and stored in our citizens’ homes.

Residents can also find additional information and firearm safety resources, including safe storage options and tips for firearm safety at home in Project ChildSafe’s resource library.

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

We hope that with each Project ChildSafe gun lock that is distributed into our community, owners are talking with their children and families about the importance of firearm safety. While it may be hard to start a discussion with children or loved ones about the importance of firearm safety, it is a critically important step as a firearm owner. Project ChildSafe has resources for parents that can help frame the firearm safety conversation with children.

Just taking one extra step in safely securing a firearm can have a powerful impact on the safety of our friends, families and neighbors in our communities.


Name: Officer Daniel Wiechman (Community Liaison Officer)

Department: Fox Crossing Police Department – Neenah, WI


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

Our agency makes Project ChildSafe’s gun safety materials and locks available year-round via a display at our lobby window. We also bring all safety materials for our booth that we staff at local events throughout the year, like our Safety Day, which is held in conjunction with our other local public safety branches, including the fire department. Additionally, there are other events held by corporate partners who have requested our presence, and we make the Project ChildSafe materials and locks available to their employees as well. These events serve as an opportunity to connect with residents and ensure that they have the tools and education to practice safe firearm storage in the home, in vehicles and in any other situation.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Firearm safety is an extremely important topic for everyone, regardless of age. Too many individuals believe firearm safety is just a topic to discuss with young children. Project ChildSafe, as well as the Fox Crossing Police Department, want to ensure firearm safety is top of mind for gun owners and non-gun owners alike by promoting resources that help make this conversation easier.

Through our partnership with Project ChildSafe, we hope to increase community-wide awareness of the importance of responsible gun ownership, as well as the availability of free gun locks and educational materials to community members.

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

I have personally had conversations with local residents who appreciate the locks. Many residents come with the expectation that the locks are for purchase, and we are always proud to report that they are free. Residents have also shared that their current methods of firearm storage were not nearly as safe as they should be, and they were eager to put the locks to good use. These are the ways – big and small – that we see Project ChildSafe helping promote and encourage gun safety in Wisconsin.

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

A key step to helping underscore the incredibly important topic of secure firearm storage stems from simply sharing the Project ChildSafe message and educational materials with friends and family. This small step will help strengthen our community.

Anyone who may not be familiar with Project ChildSafe should take the opportunity to watch how to properly install a firearm safety lock. This is a perfect opportunity for the firearm owner to openly discuss the importance of firearm security and safety, and in turn, promote such an invaluable program.

For more information about Fox Crossing Police Department’s upcoming safety events, visit the department’s website.

You can review and download Project ChildSafe’s many educational resources through the program’s resource library.



Name: Jack Logan

Organization: Founder of Put Down the Guns Now Young People

Why does your organization partner with Project ChildSafe?

Put Down the Guns Now Young People was formed in 2010 with a strong community commitment to firearm safety following a series of local firearm accidents. Prior to the accidents, I had never heard of a gun lock. However, the increased number of accidents across South Carolina sparked my passion to help spread firearm safety messages, resources and educational materials throughout my community in any way that I could.

Initially, we reached out to law enforcement agencies for locks. Through our local community outreach and efforts, we learned that many community members were unaware that locks were available for free through their local law enforcement agencies. Our organization was able to distribute the free gun locks and educational resources in the community in ways law enforcement agency partners couldn’t.

After some time, I reached out to Project ChildSafe directly to distribute firearm safety kits. After working together for about ten years, our group has distributed over 10,000 Project ChildSafe gun locks in South Carolina.

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

Put Down the Guns Now Young People distributes gun locks and firearm safety materials in a few ways:

  • Hosting Gun Safety Events: We look for different ways to teach both children and parents about the importance of firearm safety. This includes hosting demonstrations with community members and giving away gun locks at church events. We have had great success generating media coverage of these events, further expanding the program’s reach.
    Distributing Locks: We frequently go door to door in communities, distributing gun locks and talking to parents and kids about how to use the locks. When we go out into the community, we teach people the importance of always practicing basic firearm safety. We remind parents that if they carry or have a firearm in the home, they need to keep it locked up when not in use. We also remind parents that even if their kids are only playing with toy guns, they should treat them as real guns and not point the guns at people.

Over the past ten years, since we started working with Project ChildSafe, we’ve found that firearm safety is an issue that reaches everyone – regardless of background, societal status or ethnicity. It’s such an important topic that everyone needs to be aware of and informed about. That’s a huge factor behind why we are involved in so many different outreach events – we will drive far and wide to any group or community that is interested in receiving information about safe firearm storage and ownership.

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

Since we started Put Down the Guns Now Young People, we’ve distributed thousands of gun locks and educational materials in South Carolina and other communities across the country. We believe educating people about the importance of firearms safety and providing gun locks has helped to reduce the number of accidents in our communities.

Project ChildSafe’s wide range of resources (including resources for hunters, law enforcement agencies, parents and educators) have had a positive impact within my community. We have been able to share these resources with many different groups with differing needs, increasing the total number of people we have been able to reach and educate.

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

We encourage law enforcement agencies to use and share Project ChildSafe’s educational resources with their communities. It’s so important that parents understand the vital importance of firearm safety. Every parent that we educate about firearm safety, creates an opportunity for them to talk to and educate another parent.

If someone reading this wanted to start a similar gun safety effort in their community, what advice would you give them?

I would recommend they initially start with teaching children the importance of not touching a gun when adults are not around. If they want to take up target shooting or hunting, they must be taught how to properly and safely handle a gun under adult supervision. From there, it’s important to consider the role of organizations such as Project ChildSafe, which can offer gun locks and educational materials – all key items for anyone who is promoting gun safety in their community.


NSSF-PCS-Profiles-Wasylyshyn-Social_v1_IGName: Mark Wasylyshyn, Sheriff

Department: Wood County Ohio Sheriff’s Office

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

Project ChildSafe is very present in Wood County. We do our best to make firearms safety a key topic of conversation at our office and in the community. A few of the ways we engage with residents include:

Offering gun locks and materials to citizens when they apply for their concealed carry license.
Distributing locks and information to people at our county-wide employee picnic.
Sharing information and safety kits with attendees at our county fair.
Giving these items to graduates of our Citizen’s Police Academy for additional visibility.
Finally, making gun locks and safety materials available to citizens upon request throughout the year.
Citizens can also take advantage of additional resources from Project ChildSafe through its online Resource Library. In addition to resources for law enforcement agencies, we also promote materials available for parents (such as a video guiding parents on how to have a conversation about firearms safety with their children) and educators (such as lesson plans featuring McGruff the Crime Dog on how to talk to students about the importance of gun safety).

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Project ChildSafe supplies us with the free gun locks, which saves our office from taking away valuable dollars from other pressing needs within the Sheriff’s Office. Project ChildSafe’s generosity allows us to give these locks away at no cost to gun owners within our community.

I recently learned that Project ChildSafe marked its 20th anniversary in 2019, having distributed more than 38 million free gun locks nationwide. We are thankful to partner with them and to be a part of a program that promotes the importance of firearms safety and safe storage in our community. I feel the impact that firearms safety education has on our community and know it is helped made possible through programs like Project ChildSafe.

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

No one can measure the impact or number of lives saved from having a gun lock. Our goal is to help keep our community safe, and having a gun lock is one simple step firearms owners can take to help ensure the safety of their loved ones.

We understand that many individuals have tight budgets in our community and may not want to pay for gun locks or other safe storage devices. Project ChildSafe takes away excuses for not using gun locks and provides the materials and resources to practice responsible firearms ownership and safe storage.

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

Having people contact their friends and families about the importance of safety is priceless. The Sheriff’s Office is always putting out safety information to the public, but it is much more powerful when it comes directly from friends and family. Please share our messages, including those from Project ChildSafe, on social media to help spread the word about safety in our community. You can follow the Wood County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter, and Project ChildSafe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


NSSF-PCS-Profiles-Xiarhos-Social_v1_IGName: Deputy Chief Steven G. Xiarhos

Department: The Yarmouth Police Department

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

The Yarmouth Police Department has Project ChildSafe gun locks available 24/7 to members of our community at Police Headquarters.

In addition, we have Project ChildSafe gun locks available at all of our Community Policing Events including Firearm and Ammunition occasions. These events are designed to help citizens safely manage their firearms and ammunition, along with properly and legally turning in items that are no longer wanted.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

The Yarmouth Police Department strongly believes in firearms safety education and prevention. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a variety of firearms safety laws which include the safe handling, securing and storage of firearms. Partnering with Project ChildSafe has allowed us to help keep our citizens and our children safer.

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

Our mission is to transform Yarmouth into one of the safest communities in our region. The availability of free gun locks and safety materials is an important aspect of our strategic plan and objective as we move to 2020 and beyond.

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

Becoming fully educated and trained in how to properly use and safely secure firearms is critical. Modeling proper, safe behavior at all times sends a powerful message throughout our great community, Commonwealth and Country. In addition, Project ChildSafe has many great safety resources available through its website. Some of these resources include an infographic with different safe storage options, a firearms safety in vehicles brochure and the Project ChildSafe Child’s Pledge.


womens outdoor news

Hunting season is here, and Project ChildSafe wants to remind all hunters, new and experienced, to practice firearms safety with the annual Hunt S.A.F.E. campaign. The Hunt S.A.F.E. campaign acknowledges the rich tradition of hunting and underscores the importance of safe firearms handling and storage.

For many, hunting season comes with a heightened awareness of firearms safety. This year Project ChildSafe is proud to partner with Women’s Outdoor News to share their top safety tips for the season.

These tips, along with Project ChildSafe’s hunting resources, demonstrate proper hunting safety habits that can help prevent an accident that might result in serious injury or, at minimum, will almost certainly ruin your hunt.

We are excited to collaborate with women who are working hard to advocate for firearms safety and responsible firearms ownership across the nation.

Here are the top hunting safety tips from the hunting women of Women’s Outdoor News:

    • “Ask yourself important questions related to your hunt. Is my firearm compliant with the state’s wildlife agency’s rules for hunting this species? Is it working properly and sighted or patterned appropriately? Do I have the proper ammo and am I educated about what that ammo does at certain distances?” – Barbara Baird
    • “Regardless of what type of hunting you are doing, you should always know the condition of the firearm you are using. This includes knowing if it has a safety and ensuring it is engaged, especially if you are walking.” – Michelle Cerino
    • “Be sure to dress properly for the hunt. If you’ll be walking a lot, be sure your boots fit correctly and are made for the terrain. This helps prevent tripping when holding a firearm. It also gets really cold this time of year, so wearing warm enough clothes to safely handle your firearm is important.” – Ali Juten
    • “Don’t load the gun until you are ready to use it. Climbing into a tree stand can be hazardous on its own but adding a loaded firearm to the mix makes it even more dangerous. Accidents happen but can be easily be avoided if you practice proper safety procedures.” – Hollis Lumpkin
    • “Preparation makes you more confident in the field. Spend time shooting from different positions so that when the times comes, you can adapt and make the shot knowing you are ready and sure of yourself.” – Ashlee Lundvall
    • “Remember to wear eye protection!” – Lynne Green
    • “When hunting, carry a knife and two packs of matches. Also, as always, treat your gun like it is loaded even when you know it is not.” – Karen Butler

What are your top hunting safety tips? Join the conversation on Twitter and tag us @ProjChildSafe.

Project ChildSafe wants to promote S.A.F.E. hunting and remind outdoorsmen and women to 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. For more tips to ensure a safe hunt, check out Project ChildSafe’s hunting checklist and toolkit and take our Hunt S.A.F.E. quiz!Hunting season is here, and Project ChildSafe wants to remind all hunters, new and experienced, to practice firearms safety with the annual Hunt S.A.F.E. campaign. The Hunt S.A.F.E. campaign acknowledges the rich tradition of hunting and underscores the importance of safe firearms handling and storage.


Project ChildSafe partners foster a culture of firearms safety that helps prevent firearms accidents, theft and misuse. Over the last few years, we have seen our partners around the country take even more steps to advocate for safe firearms storage. Our partners include local organizations representing conservation groups, mental health and suicide prevention advocates, veterans, faith groups, firearms retailers and ranges, hunting and shooting groups and law enforcement, among others.

“We’ve given out thousands of Project ChildSafe gun locks to people who want and need them. I do believe we’ve also increased awareness on this issue.” – Matthew D. Weintraub, Bucks County District Attorney

Project ChildSafe’s efforts focus on providing free firearm safety kits that include a gun lock and safety brochure, as well as spreading free firearms safety resources through coordinated distribution events, media events and a growing list of organizational supporters. Program partners take these efforts and amplify them further within their respective communities through various local events, as well as spreading firearms safety messages and awareness both in person and on social media.

“We would not be able to provide free gun locks to our residents without our partnership with Project ChildSafe, and we have seen firsthand the impact it has on our residents. 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.” – Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Chief John Gielink

Over the last two decades, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 38 million firearm safety kits throughout 55 U.S. states and territories. Project ChildSafe has also created infographics, blog posts, flyers and other supporting materials to help community partners spread safety messages to their neighbors, friends and families. The distribution of these resources has been made possible through partnerships with 15,000 law enforcement agencies and more than 9,000 supporting organizations. Project ChildSafe is thankful for all the partners that have helped make a difference in communities nationwide.

“Partnering with Project ChildSafe has given us the opportunity to provide a free method of education and options for securing firearms for our university community. We have received continuous positive feedback from this initiative.” – Officer Jeff Butterworth, Sam Houston State University Police Department

Following a grant provided by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2015, Project ChildSafe and the National Shooting Sports Foundation launched the Project ChildSafe Communities program to engage select communities – Oklahoma City, Memphis and Cleveland – to promote responsible firearms ownership and securely storing firearms when not in use. More than 50 partners in these three communities alone help spread the message of safe and responsible firearms ownership. Project ChildSafe Communities is a community-driven program, and the involvement of local organizations is critical to the program’s success.

“By making safety kits and educational resources available, we will help promote responsible gun ownership to members of our community to have a larger impact in facilitating smart habits that will help keep guns safely stored away from children, at-risk individuals and criminals.” – Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty

Recently, Project ChildSafe released a new PSA, educational video series and Firearms Safety in Vehicles brochure to further assist gun owners and non-owners of varying backgrounds to better know and understand the importance of practicing firearms safety. Additional resources can be found here.

“Project ChildSafe gives us an ongoing opportunity to talk to the public about gun safety and to help prevent accidental deaths and injuries by reducing the number of unsecured firearms in our community.” – Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts

For more information on how to get involved with Project ChildSafe, please email PCSInfo@nssf.org .


MATTHEW D. WEINTRAUBName: Matthew D. Weintraub, District Attorney

Department: Bucks County District Attorney’s Office


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

We distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and materials through community partnerships. We feel the need to educate gun owners and non-gun owners alike on the value of firearms safety and safe storage. In our community Benjamin Smith, a two-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed himself with his father’s gun, inspired us to form Ben’s Campaign. This campaign helps to spread the word in the media about the importance of secure storage of firearms and to garner the support we needed to reach individuals in the community to help make a difference.

From the beginning of the campaign, we knew that it wasn’t practical for the residents of Bucks County to get gun locks solely from us. To assist us, we enlisted the help of our local police departments, the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office, Bucks County Children & Youth and our friends at the Bucks County Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) to expand our reach countywide.

Since 2017, the partner agencies have become community pick-up locations for locks. Folks only need come in and ask. In addition, our police departments distribute locks at various events throughout the county, and the sheriff’s office offers them to anyone applying for a concealed carry permit. This strategy has been a huge success and has resulted in the distribution of countless gun locks.

NOVA, who makes sure each gun lock comes packaged with gun safety information, has estimated that we have distributed thousands of gun locks to our community through this effort. Demand for more the gun locks is so high that we can barely keep them in stock.

To help expand our reach, we’re now in the process of partnering with additional agencies, including the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, the Lenape Valley Foundation and the Central Bucks Rescue Squad. Beginning this spring, we will provide free gun locks to households where people are suffering from dementia or who are at risk of suicide. We hope to help these households store their guns safely and avoid tragedies in their homes.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Community safety is paramount to our mission. With the heartbreaking passing of Ben Smith, we immediately recognized a safety deficiency that we needed to remedy. Project ChildSafe shares our dedication to gun safety and provided us with the free gun locks needed to realize our vision, while maximizing the benefit to our residents and taxpayers.

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

Since Ben’s Campaign began in 2017, Bucks County has not had a single accidental child death involving a firearm. There is no question that with thousands of Project ChildSafe’s free gun locks in our community, our children are now safer. Our hope is that with increased and ongoing education and awareness, we can help ensure no child has unauthorized access to firearms.

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

We all have a duty to protect our children. Start by keeping your own weapons locked and unloaded when not in use. Once your guns are safely stored, help spread the message and let others know where they can get free gun locks, too. Project ChildSafe also has a variety of helpful safety resources and educational materials including the Project ChildSafe child’s pledge, ten tips for firearms safety in your home and a video on how to talk to kids about firearms safety.